Cleveland Scene - February 28, 2024

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| | February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 4 COVER PHOTO BY @COLLECTIVEINTEREST | DESIGN BY JOE FRONTEL Dedicated to Free Times founder Richard H. Siegel (1935-1993) and Scene founder Richard Kabat Publisher Denise Polverine Editor Vince Grzegorek Editorial Music Editor Jeff Niesel Staff Writer Mark Oprea Dining Editor Douglas Trattner Stage Editor Christine Howey Advertising Sales Inquiries (216) 505-8199, Senior Multimedia Account Executive Shayne Rose Creative Services Creative Services Manager Samantha Serna Staff Photographer Emanuel Wallace Business Business & Sales Support Specialist Megan Stimac Traffic Manager Kristen Brickner Circulation Circulation Director Burt Sender ...The story continues at Take SCENE with you with the Issuu app! “Cleveland Scene Magazine” Upfront ....................................... 6 Feature ..................................... 10 Get Out 18 Eat 21 Music ........................................ 24 Livewire .................................... 25 Savage Love 26 Cleveland Scene is published every other week by Omit the Magazine. Cleveland Scene is a Verified Audit Member Great Lakes Publishing President Lute Harmon Jr. Finance Director Perry Zohos Operations Manager Corey Galloway Cleveland Distribution Scene is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader Subscriptions - $170 (1 yr); $85 (6 mos.) Email Megan - - to subscribe. Cleveland Scene 1422 Euclid Ave. STE 730 Cleveland, OH 44115 CONTENTS Copyright The entire contents of Cleveland Scene Magazine are copyright 2024 by Great Lakes Publishing. 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 $170 (1 yr); $85 (6 mos.) Send name, address and zip code with check or money order to the address listed above with the title ‘Attn: Subscription Department’ FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 12 , 2024 • VOL. 54 No 17 REWIND 1977: As we kick it into high gear for awards season, Scene visited the Rock Awards in 1977. 1970-2024
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after the Geauga Faith Rescue Mission opened up a small shelter for homeless men on Washington Street in Chardon when the thought to do the same for women occurred to Sister Margaret Gorman.

Gorman, a nun at the Sisters of Notre Dame, the charity that owns the building, was warmed by what seemed like a new community anchor. Amish donated help for the shelter’s trim and doors. Geauga Hardwood offered laminate flooring. Annie Payne, a Chardonbased interior decorator, designed the shelter’s bedrooms and lobby.

In fifteen months, twenty men were given beds to sleep in, meals to eat, links to jobs and permanent housing.

“During that time, we’ve seen churches, businesses, and many individuals also begin to support that program,” Gorman said. “And we see how extending that program to the women could be a real support here in Geauga County.”

The Sisters and GFRM found their next shelter on twenty acres of land around an abandoned preschool building off Auburn Road in Munson Township. Because the land the preschool is situated on is not zoned for shelter housing, both organizations needed approval by Munson Township’s Zoning Board to remake the building into a transitional shelter for roughly eight to ten single women.

Yet, the Sisters were thrown a curveball: many in Munson Township viewed the shelter as an incoming wave of societal degradation.

“People in Munson and the surrounding areas pay BIG MONEY to keep their kids and families away from the dredges of society,” Munson resident Richard Spanish posted on Facebook. “And the Sisters of Notre Dame think it’s a good idea to fill an old barn with homeless, most likely drugaddicted hags???!!”

“You do not want the inner city coming to our county,” Sam Culper posted. “This will be like a cancer.”

The impetus to build what would be Geauga County’s second homeless shelter, was, in the mind of its backers, steeped in a mixture of good faith intentions and response to hard data.

Because a great majority of the county comprises owner-occupied homes, few resources exist to accommodate those that can’t afford one, or experience sudden

life changes.

A 2021 county assessment found that the Geauga Metropolitan Housing Authority could only provide public housing for 165 county residents, or less than .01 percent of its population. (One nonprofit suggested there were, a few years back, “over 700 people” on waiting lists.) Housing was the second most addressed topic

in a recent “Unmet Needs” report by Geauga County Jobs & Family Services.

“We have little to no options for our homeless people,” GCJFS’ 2019 survey and review read. “There is no housing for homeless in Geauga County.”

While the proof of an area’s increasing unsheltered population is more obvious in the center of

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Photo by Mark Oprea

a city, where shelters are often clustered in walkable areas, the evidence—and actual, verifiable count—of those living homeless is much harder to pin down in rural areas, where cars and wide open spaces are daily life’s status quo.

It’s just this lack of visibility that fueled Nathan Long, GFRM’s executive director, into pursuing a second shelter partnership with the Sisters of Notre Dame. (They lease the property.) After a decade as a pastor in Geauga County, Long had felt he’d come to know the church’s position as a community anchor. When the need to petition for a variance came up in January, Long was unflappable. He knew what was coming.

“That’s a concern that we hear over and over that we’re going to bring Cuyahoga County to Geauga County,” he told Scene. “But we have to meet needs here. We have people that need help right here.”

Last Tuesday evening, Long, Sister Gorman, and a panel of faith leaders presented their case to hundreds of Munson residents at the Munson Town Hall on Auburn, down the road from where the women’s shelter could open later this year. There were so many cars parking in the Town Hall’s lot that visitors had to park two blocks north.

For roughly a half hour, Long, dressed in a pinstripe black suit and greying goatee, spoke almost mournfully to a packed house, pockmarking his plea with past anecdotes and verses from the Book of Matthew. Single women need a bed just as single men do, he argued. Those it would seek to service deserve the chance to rebound.

“Meeting Nathan Long saved my life,” Anthony Mira, 35, who stayed for six months at the men’s shelter on Washington, recalling days reciting Bible verses and doing daily chores. “I remember that day. Wow, it was cold out. I was struggling with withdrawals and drug problems. I figured, at least I have another week to figure it out.”

He added, “I look back at that now as one of the biggest blessings of my life.”

When they got time to share their own thoughts, the townsfolk present seemed to forget about Mira’s story completely, focusing more so on the fact that, for what seemed like a majority of respondents, that the shelter would be down the road—and a little too close to home.

“This is our children. This is

our streets! This is my family, this is my husband,” a Munson resident in her mid-forties cried out. “Right now, I am by myself raising two children. I’m going to probably be putting a target on my back.”

Long echoed his sentiment that people can change. “When they come to us, the high percentage of people that are committing crimes,” he responded, “once they enter into a structure, that reduces it.”

“No! No! No!” the crowd groaned.

“Oh my god,” one person shouted.

“No!” one woman cried. “It brings crime from the inner city!”

As the town hall came to a head, many in its audience seemed to rally around a common fear: We’ve been here, in our homes, for decades—and we don’t plan on giving that up, or allowing our homes’ values to depreciate. “We are here to live a peaceful and quiet life,” one woman in her fifties shouted.

“What about the safety of the students, like 800 to 1,000 feet away from the shelter,” one woman said. “When you have residents leaving the facility! Those who have access to weapons. They have access to drugs.”

“Every other resident in your town has that access,” Long rebutted.

“Yeah, but you’re talking about the residents being homeless— drug problems, mental health problems. And we all know all the school shootings usually revolve around mental health.”

Long pivoted. “I don’t think there is one incident throughout the United States of a female doing a mass shooting,” he said.

At that, the crowd went ballistic.

“I wish people could talk like fucking adults,” a 31-year-old resident living on Auburn told Scene. “This,” he said, “this is every town in America.”

Last Friday, GFRM announced they would find a new location for the homeless shelter rather than continue to fight Munson’s residents.

“But perception is one thing. I mean, either the community wants something or they don’t,” Long told Scene. “And we’re not trying to force something in the community that doesn’t want it.” –

Annual Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Report Questions Effectiveness of Cleveland’s Vision Zero Program

There was 75-year-old Mike hit while walking a crosswalk on West 14th St. There was 15-yearold Sariya hit near East 105th by a driver with a suspended license.

And there was the driver in a stolen Jeep trying to escape police on Lee Road, one who crashed into the front of the Keratin Barber College. Four people were injured.

“Oh, the car went through the entire front door,” Tracy, a Keratin employee, said, recounting that day last March to Scene. “I watched the whole thing. The car came right down the street and right into our business.”

Last year, 550 Clevelanders were hit by cars while cycling or walking around the city, Bike Cleveland found, according to a report released Tuesday. Nine of those involved in accidents died, a relative unchanged statistic since Vision Zero, Cleveland’s attempt to eliminate fatal pedestrian and biking accidents by 2032, was implemented two years ago. (In 2023, there were 10 deaths.)

The report, which Bike Cleveland compiled using 911 calls and data culled from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, details a city still reaching for safe infrastructure.

The numbers are likely obvious to routine navigators of Cleveland’s hardscape. Most of 2023’s accidents occurred in dense areas with wide streets, where drivers have ample room to change lanes and flout speed limits. About a third of all accidents occurred downtown, or on the city’s inner West or East sides. (Seventy-nine of these involved children.)

At least as far as we know.

Jenna Thomas, the data analyst at Bike Cleveland who helped produce the bulk of the report, said that many accidents with pedestrians and cyclists often go unreported, either due to hit-andruns or police skepticism. That, and the city of Cleveland, she said, submits actual crash reports, called OH-1s, about “45 to 60 days after crashes occur.”

Other Ohio cities like Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo, she said, send those reports “within one to five days on average.”

“And Vision Zero relies on those reports,” Thomas said in a phone call. “I mean, we don’t really have good data. Like, in 2023, about half of all crashes, I think, don’t ever get reported.”

Like 40 other U.S. cities, Cleveland dove into Vision Zero, a safer-streets initiative first adopted in Sweden in 1997, as a

focused way to best spend dollars on buffered bike lanes, speed bumps and other traffic calming and safety efforts.

And, save for ten speed tables, roundabouts and some walkerfriendly signals, most of Vision Zero’s progress since 2022 has been policy-oriented, with Cleveland’s Complete & Green Streets law last summer doing most of the guiding. As did $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act money put aside for street reshaping: into narrowing roads, building better walk signaling.

“All this takes time,” Thomas said. “But we’re certainly anxious to see more things installed.”

In 2020, eight years after installing its own Vision Zero policy, Chicago’s traffic fatality rates pretty much matched those in 2012. From 2015, when Los Angeles implemented its own, to 2018, pedestrian fatalities increased by 75 percent. The only major applause heard might be in San Francisco, where crashes “decreased significantly” in 2019 and 2020, after two years of policy changes. (Mind you, in a city where 40 percent of its commuters use public transit.)

“Claiming that no price can be placed on human life is a noble approach,” Jay Derr, a transportation policy advisor at the Reason Foundation, wrote, “but one that is unrealistic in a world where policymakers have limited resources to solve problems.”

But don’t tell that to Ward 3 Councilman Kerry McCormack. The writer of the Complete & Green Streets legislation in 2022, McCormack believes that Cleveland will see a decline in such accidents soon after construction is cleared—like the $30 million Lorain Midway, or the supposed four to five buffered bike lanes, he said, that could pop up downtown this summer.

“And you don’t even have to have the data,” he said. “People are out of control in their cars, they’re out of control. Your signs can be great. Marks on the road. But we still need real road infrastructure to force drivers to pay attention.”

As for that infrastructure, McCormack and Thomas turn to the suggestions from Vision Zero: to new pedestrian wait islands, to raising crosswalks and adding curb extensions to high risk blocks. Or, as the report says, matching “evolving national standards for street design.” –Mark Oprea

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Literary Cleveland to Host Third Annual Poetry Festival in April

“It is better to present one image in a lifetime,” the poet Ezra Pound wrote in his essay “A Few Don’ts,” “than to produce voluminous works.”

What was a staple of early modernists like Pound — the focus on impressionistic imagery in poetry — will be the underlying theme of this year’s Cleveland Poetry Festival, which runs April 12 through 14.

Hosted in a partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art, Literary Cleveland’s third annual festival will explore, via a series of workshops and readings, “the play between image and text, the use of type in art, the ways poetry and visual art inspire each other.”

“It’s like ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn,’” Matt Weinkam, Literary Cleveland’s executive director said, referring to writer John Keats’ most famous poem. (A meditation on an old piece of Greek pottery.) “It’s looking at poetry that takes influence from other art forms not poetry.”

Fourteen local poets and four out-of-towners will present their takes on influences on written word, from Cleveland-based Siaara Freeman workshopping on “Ekphrastic Poetry” (that is, poems fueled by art, like ‘Grecian Urn’), to artist couple Ali and Donald Black Jr. riffing on the intimate ties between poetry and photography.

Literary Cleveland’s festival, its second in-person event since the pandemic, comes at a trying and interesting time in the city’s public exploration of local arts.

In February, the FRONT International arts festival, which had been showcasing hundreds of paintings, sculptures and installations in Cleveland since 2016, had announced it was folding operations. And last week, CAN Journal, the city’s visual arts almanac, opted to close its triennial, as well.

Such a creative gap will allow CMA and Literary Cleveland to step up, and produce something

glittering for Northeast Ohio’s arts milieu. And both will do so at relative high points: Literary Cleveland ended its 2023 fiscal year with glowing numbers, its annual report stated, with double the members it had in 2019, its founding year, and more than triple the attendees of their events. (And quadruple the revenue.)

The festival also aims to explore the unique relationship visiting poets—like Lauren Haldeman and Diana Khoi Nguyen—have in common with others in the Midwestern class.

Kevin Latimer, a 30-year-old poet from Cleveland’s Stockyards, and co-founder of indie press GRIEVELAND, believes the April fest will help further crystallize a very Cleveland school of poetry, a style seen in fellow readers Stephanie Ginese and Brendan Joyce, one that often toys with lowercase styling and emotional fragments.

Just as it does, Latimer said, the personal politics of those lodged in the Instagram Generation. (And our addiction to images that come with it.)

“I’m going to have to agree with Matt on this one,” Kevin Latimer said, referring to Weinkam. “There are elements of [social media] that are good, elements that are bad. In the end, it’s good that poets are posting, and having their work being read.”

Besides the aforementioned poets and artists, the three days of poetry will include participation from Mansa L. Bey, Danny Caine, Carrie George, J.P. Hernandez, Michael Loderstedt, Phillip Metres, Wendy Patridge, Alyssa Perry and Zach Savich. We’ll also see panels and work read by visiting poets Joyelle McSweeney and Cindy Juyoung Ok. – Mark Oprea

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A 2023 poetry reading| Courtesy Lit Cleveland


Issue 2 passed in Ohio, and now you want to grow your own stash. So, where do you begin?

THE MORNING AFTER OHIO voters passed Issue 2 last fall, two middle-aged men showed up at Tilth Soil’s warehouse on St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland. They arrived within five minutes of each other. In fact, they were neighbors and they knew each other.

As those two men walked past heaps of packaged soil blends, taking in the sights of the city’s most robust composting operation, they sheepishly explained that they were looking for soil for their, uh, indoor tomato plants.

Cue the awkward pause.

Nathan Rutz likes telling this story. He’s the director of soil at Tilth, and he says this moment is a good example of the surge of interest in cannabis that the state is about to experience. As soon as the last of this mild winter frost burns off, spring planting season will no doubt see thousands of cannabis plants sprouting from the window boxes of Toledo to the riverside flatlands of Meigs County.

A lot of that weed will be bunk. Most of it will be serviceable and downright enjoyable. Some of it will even be top-tier sticky-icky kind bud. The thrill of the season is going to be finding out what it takes to grow good weed. As the plant expresses its own chemical wonders, you too will learn a few things about what kind of gardener you are.

We’re here to sort fact from myth, which in the cannabis scene is no small task, so we spoke with a few longtime home-growers to gather tips and tricks for your own plants this summer.

You know, it’s not as simple as just tossing some bag seeds into your lead-ridden Old Brooklyn backyard dirt and hoping for fat nugs in the fall. Cannabis is an easy plant to grow, relatively speaking, but you have to know what you’re

doing. We all know that you let your poor pothos plant wither away and die over the winter. You need help. Seriously.

“Home grow in Ohio is here to stay,” Max says. He’s been growing cannabis for years, and held stints as a teacher at the Cleveland School of Cannabis; he goes by @professor_ bluntstache on Instagram. Along with compadres Jake (@jaake888) and Chris (@collectiveinterest), he took some time to explain to Scene how to grow some nice plants in our fine Northeast Ohio climate. We’re mainly just interested in smoking the stuff and watching Kids in the Hall, but they were kind enough to articulate the agronomic complexities of this biological wonder.

But first, let’s review exactly where we stand as a voting and toking populace.

Issue 2 was passed by a 57-43 margin in November 2023, yes, and the law itself went into effect in December. That means that home grow is 100% legal in Ohio as of this writing. The rest of the Issue 2 language, which mainly dealt with setting up an actual taxedand-regulated market for adultuse cannabis (grown and sold via licensed businesses), is now getting a classic Republican rubdown by state lawmakers who took little to no interest in cannabis for, oh, just about forever and who now want to slice off their own piece of the pie.

The Ohio House is currently workshopping language in H.B. 354, a bill that would “modify” the measure approved by voters. (For those voters awaiting dispensary sales, keep an eye out sometime this fall.) Rest assured that all states go through this herky-jerky process, in which lawmakers sink their teeth into the law and set up their pals in law enforcement with some nice tidy

tax revenue for profoundly ironic reasons; Ohio is not unique in that regard, but it is very Ohio-y. In the weeks following the election, state senators yapped their wet, floppy jowls and suggested, among other things, lowering the THC limit in cannabis products and eliminating home grow altogether. The backlash was something fierce.

And yet, here we are.

For home growers in 2024, you can legally grow up to six plants per adult (or up to 12 per household). A reasonable estimate is that one plant will yield about four ounces of dried flower, possibly much more than that. On the high end, a savvy gardener could garner more than a pound of bud this summer. That’s far more than the average consumer will need, at least until you hit the Phish tour. (As of now, H.B. 354 brazenly bans the “sharing” of cannabis among adults, so go figure).

The bottom line is that we’re at the crossroads of a pivotal moment for Ohio. The state is actually implementing cannabis reform –astonishingly.

“I think Issue 2 has brought a lot more transparency and education to younger people,” Jake says. “I know a lot of younger people have dealt with drug addictions and substance issues. Especially in Ohio. Having that education shows people the right path to take.”

So, for gardeners of all experience levels, for cannabis consumers of

all stripes, what is the right path to take? The cannabis plant is a hardy and beautiful specimen of biological grace. It basically grows itself. But if you’d like to help it along and control your intertwined destinies, what does it take to grow really good cannabis?

I put the question directly to Max–“Where do you begin with all of this?”–and at first all he said was, “Oh, man…”

With that auspicious start, let’s get into it.

Sourcing Primo Genetics

Think of your favorite strain (or “cultivar,” if you’d like to use the proper agronomic term). What kind of cannabis really knocked your socks off?

Maybe it was Do-Si-Dos that finally relieved your Sunday Scaries. Maybe it was Green Crack that got you back in the mood to pick up the guitar and write some songs and feel creatively refreshed. Maybe you think I just made up those names.

You can Google “Do-Si-Dos seeds” or, better yet, “Do-Si-Dos feminized autoflower seeds” and begin your research. Grow the kind of genetic profile that you will want to consume or share. With a little homework, you can pinpoint the breeder behind your favorite strains. Perhaps you can even find a local breeder who can set you up with genetics that generally have the profile you want. Try reaching

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Photo by Christine DeJesus

out via DM on Instagram, but know that cannabis still carries some degree of stigma; breeders are often interested in talking about their work, but doing so openly on social media can be a faux pas. Do what you can to scrutinize the breeder’s website, if they have one.

If you like Do-Si-Dos and you’d like to see what happens when that strain is crossed with Wedding Cake, try Dosi-Cake, bred by Archive Seed Bank. Garden centers and grow stores are another option as cannabis becomes a more open industry.

“Source your seeds from places where you know you’re getting good stuff,” Max says. It sounds obvious, but the quasi-legal cannabis market in the U.S. has provided ample room for scam artists and gatekeepers and braggadocios: 21st-century Runyonesque hustlers abound. Much like researching a new pair of running shoes, take your time to examine the marketplace and vet suppliers.

Chris adds: Don’t source your seeds from Amsterdam. And on that note, he points out that, yes, seeds are 100% legal to ship within the U.S.; the seeds technically have less than 0.3% THC content, which renders them legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. No need to have your seeds shipped to your dog like Chris Perez.

Feminized autoflower seeds especially will achieve two things: They will provide you with a feminized crop of cannabis plants, and they will automatically shift from the vegetative to the flower phase. We’ll explain more about both concepts soon, but they’re important. Consider feminized autoflower seeds “easy mode” for intimidated gardeners.

Christine DeJesus, director of cultivation at Galenas, a licensed cannabis business in Akron, thinks that we’ll see a lot of people trying their hand at growing cannabis in 2024. She also recommends that most growers work with seeds; the alternative would be working with clones (or cuttings taken from established cannabis plants). No need to make it harder for yourself, especially if you’re a novice gardener. Plants grown from seed tend to be more vigorous; they will have a taproot that will strengthen the plant and provide stability against wind.

“If you can start seeds for most other plants, like garden vegetables or flowers, then you can pretty easily start cannabis the same way,” she says.

So, secure your seeds first.

Know that if you pop six or 12 seeds you may not end the season with all plants healthy and intact. Consider this whole process one grand experiment for you and your cannabis plants.

Rutz offers some sage advice at the outset: “Grow feminized auto seeds, and you will have a good time. Pop that auto on 4/20, boom, 90 days, take it down.” That’s perhaps the most succinct advice you’ll get on growing cannabis. For those who want to go even deeper, continue reading.

Getting Started

Max says he learned a lot about growing cannabis from his time working at Blueberry Hill Family Farms in Loudonville (which supplies Mustard Seed Market locations). Gardeners of all stripes will surely be able to bring lessons from other plants to their cannabis this year. In fact, you can even, generally, follow your tomato plants’ early-season timeline.

“Really, plants will grow themselves,” Max says. “I don’t think that’s the hard part. As long as you have experience with how plants need to be watered and how plants are affected by feeds, and as long as you just use good soil, I think that you’re going to have minimal issues. Issues come more from trying to do

things to your plant–trying to prune too much, trying to feed too much.”

As you embark on your journey, go ahead and start your seeds earlier in the spring indoors under lights. Try mid-April. There’s always temptation to get the garden going early each year, but beware late frosts in our region. Earlier certainly does not mean “better.” There’s no rush here, man! In fact, starting your plants a little later can help contain your growth later on. You might want to grow the biggest, fattest plant possible, but there are real health drawbacks to such girth. A small, well maintained plant is a happy plant.

“Cannabis is a lot of people’s gateway plant into gardening and into paying attention to plants, which is then paying attention to Earth, which is then paying attention to a whole host of societal ills,” Rutz says. “It’s an enchanting addition to the home garden.”

He says his first experience with growing cannabis a few years ago–er, uh, I mean just a few weeks ago!–was both straightforward and haphazard. That might be how your own season goes. Rutz started his plants in two-inch soil blocks, then moved them into four-inch pots outdoors in late May. He later moved his plants to a raised bed rich with Tilth soil, ensured they were all female (more on this in a moment),

and they grew to seven feet tall. They smelled great! He didn’t prune them, train them, defoliate them–and by early fall he had giant Christmas tree pot plants that eventually flopped over in a storm. He staked them; all was not lost. But be wary of giant cannabis plants and the madness of local weather systems.

Let your seeds sprout and grow to be about the size of a small tomato plant that you might find at Home Depot. Think Mother’s Day or even Memorial Day for a nice timeframe for getting your babies outdoors. Check your soil temperature. Get your raised beds ready with a nice, quality soil blend, or get your quarter-gallon pots ready for transplanting the little sprouts.

Prepare yourself so that by late May or early June, when you move your starters outdoors, your plants should be sexed.

All right, what does that mean?

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, which means that it can be either male or female (or both!). You, young grower, you want the female plants and their lovely flowers.

“The No. 1 thing–and I mean the No. 1 thing!–is get your males and females sorted out,” Max says. “The biggest challenge is going to be, this year, there’s going to be so much pollen in the air that I feel

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Photo by Christine DeJesus
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like almost no one is going to get a good flower run unless they’re in a secluded area.”

At this, the other growers in the room collectively groan. It’s a grim realization. Mistakes will be made across Ohio, and cannabis pollen drift from one backyard to the next may be a real threat to your plants.

To identify female plants, you need to look for a single stigma forming at the node–a small hairlike protrusion at the base of a branch.When you see those stigma forming, you know you’ve got a female and you’re ready to roll. If what you see looks more like a pair of balls, then you’ve got a male–and you’ll want to get rid of that guy. If you see yellow pollen on the leaves below those balls, you’re already too late.

Veg & Flower

All right, you’re really growing cannabis now!

As you begin to plot your garden out back, you’ll want to scout and ward off pests. From here on out, your plant is very vulnerable to the whims of nature; the prying eyes of local high school jazz band musicians and aphids are the main culprits. If you’re growing other plants in your garden, take a look around. Are there any bugs munching on your plants’ leaves?

If you’re noticing aphids on your non-cannabis flowers, maybe wait for the aphid pressure to die down before you move your cannabis plant outdoors or before you move them into heavily trafficked raised beds.

That said, where should you station your cannabis plants?

“Full sun if you can help it,” Max says. “And if you can’t help it, whatever you got! But if it’s full shade, it ain’t happening.” Consider the south or west sides of your home, which will typically receive the most sunlight. Also consider “hardening” your plant for a week in a mostly shady spot in your backyard; DeJesus says it’s very important to get them used to the temperature and the wind before throwing them into the full blast of the sun.

Once outside, your plants will experience two major growth phases: vegetative and flower. The veg phase will see the plant grow strong and mighty. The flower phase is where things get interesting, where glorious THC-rich buds bloom like frothy nectarines.

The running theme through these growth phases is “water, but not too much water,” Rutz suggests.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find this green thumb koan almost impossible to decipher. Make it easy on yourself: Consider sub-irrigated planters, which will prevent you from overwatering your plants.

DeJesus adds: “It’s better to water less frequently and more deeply than to water more frequently with a smaller volume of water.” This is perhaps helpful wisdom for many areas of life. Resist the urge to water a feeble amount each day, which will lead to stunted roots and soilborne disease. If it’s raining heavily one week, dial back the watering can. One inch of rain per week is a good benchmark.

Use plenty of soil, too; don’t skimp. Cannabis is a hungry plant, so it will suck up pretty much anything in its soil, and you want to make sure it’s a good, balanced blend with the proper nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus) and water.

And for god’s sake, don’t just use whatever dirt is lying around in your backyard. That’s a rookie

mistake. Rutz found that his own soil in Cleveland was contaminated with lead, which led him to start Tilth Soil as an outgrowth of compost collection outfit Rust Belt Riders. He saw an ecosystem-wide need for living soil offerings. In the upstairs rooms of the warehouse, he bio-assays every batch of soil that leaves the building, ensuring that it’s going to deliver the nutrients that our tomatoes and cucumbers and cannabis plants want and need.

If you’re working with autoflowering seeds, the cannabis plant will begin to shift into bloom as the daylight rhythm begins to die down a few weeks after the summer equinox. Watch the development of your plants’ flowers, which will take on delightfully crystalline, hairy appearances. Take photos! Enjoy the slow unfolding of nature.

Harvest Season

If your plants have weathered the weather itself, as well as the threat of pests and mold and bud rot and

pollination and nutrient deficiency, then there’s still one final enemy to evade before harvest: local potheads who’ve smelt what you’re growing out back.

“I’ve had neighborhood ruffians steal stuff out of my yard twice now, and they did a real hack job on my plants, which I was none too pleased about,” Rutz nearly shouts. “And it was way too early, too–the plant wasn’t even ripe! ‘A pox on both your houses!’”

So, stealth is important.

“Everyone needs to be growing smaller, shorter plants in general, to keep ‘em out of the prying eyes of the ruffians,” Max says. “And for good air flow.” A giant plant is fun, but a smaller plant may be more reasonable for your needs.

On one hand, cannabis cultivation is legal in Ohio. But judiciousness is key here: Some degree of stigma remains, and cannabis draws incredible curiosity from passersby. Raised beds are obviously nice, but pots will provide some mobility throughout the summer; you might

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Max shows the small stigma forming at the node of a cannabis plant. This shows that the plant is female. Photo by Eric Sandy
| | February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 14

want to move your plants to a more concealed location if and when you realize that you’ve been found out or while you’re on vacation.

When a tomato turns red, it’s time to dine. Slice it up and toss it on some bread with a little mayonnaise, some S&P, and you’ve got an incredible sandwich. That’s simple enough. With cannabis, this question of harvest is a bit more complicated. You’ll see beautiful buds well before you should cut them down. Most seed packages will list some sort of day count for your plants, but it’s a bit more nuanced than that.

First, if the plant is drinking less water, it’s time.

Then: “Get out the loupe and look at the trichomes!” Rutz says. Those little bulbous structures on the buds are where cannabinoids and terpenes are manufactured (you’ll see trichomes on the fan leaves as well, but don’t judge your plant based on those). As the trichomes on your buds begin to turn milky and even amber, almost glittery, then you know you’re close to harvest time.

Also, keep an eye on the weather. As you’re getting close to harvest in late September or early October, beware heavy rainfall or even early frosts. The more rain in the forecast, the greater the risk for bud rot and a decimated crop. If you feel you’re getting close to cutting down your plant, you can begin to take off the fan leaves to make your harvest easier. You can then take down the plant branch by branch, moving upward from the bottom, over the

course of a week or so.

Savor the art and science you’ve navigated all year. It’s your plant. It’s your right to grow it.

Drying and Curing

Now, don’t get carried away! After all your hard work, there’s still more to do. An easy mistake would be to cut the flowers from your cannabis plant and try to grind them up and pack your bowl.

“You can start smoking it when it’s smokeable,” Max says plainly enough.

The issue is that you need to dry the plant after you’ve harvested. As you’re cutting the branches, you should hang them upside-down in some sort of basement setting–somewhere that might achieve a 60-degree temperature and 60% humidity, if you can help it. Dry your plant material in that position for about two weeks.

Then, as your plants lose their moisture content, get a nice little pair of shears and put on a bad movie and slowly trim your buds. Just a light touch is all you need, tedious as the work is. Be gentle with your flowers when trimming. You’re on the one-yard line of your cannabis flowers’ finished appearance.

One more point–yes, there’s more. After drying and trimming, you should take some time to cure your flowers. This time period is critical to the quality of your final product; a slow dry and cure is key. Curing your plants can be a somewhat involved process. At the risk of

getting fairly complex here, consider a two-week cure in airtight mason jars. Open the jars daily for the first week, and then keep them open for another 12-24 hours if the buds are still moist and if the small stems have become bendable again.

This process is where the smokeability and taste of your cannabis will really come through. Properly dried and cured homegrown cannabis will look and feel different from what consumers may be familiar with in the licensed marketplace. It may seem leafier or gnarlier in appearance–and certainly stickier.

If you’ve been diligent this year, you’re on the threshold of an incredible moment: smoking your own home-grown cannabis.

“People are going to be getting a true treat,” Max says.

Your Rights

Now, not to get all highfalutin here, but a season of cannabis cultivation will place you at the very heart of this plant’s political and spiritual history.

Cannabis has been grown by humans for thousands of years. The plant can be put to nearly limitless uses; we’ve really only stopped here for a moment to discuss the joys of getting baked, but cannabis can achieve incredible societal reform for us knuckle-dragging 21st-century nimrods. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we could solve most of our generational ills by legalizing cannabis and ensuring free access to the plant for all. (Jack Herer’s

famous $100,000 offer still stands, even after his death: $100,000 to the person who can disprove his claim that cannabis is the only known “annually renewable, natural resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world’s paper, plastics and textiles; meet all of the world’s transportation, industrial and home energy needs; provide about 30% of the world’s medicines, while reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil and cleaning the atmosphere, all at the same time.”)

Ohio’s willingness to engage with at-home cultivation is a very positive step in a direction that will entertain Herer’s fact-backed claim.

Now that the plant is legally in your hands, fellow Ohioans, part of the responsibility is to honor that political and spiritual history.

Be willing to get out there in the broader cannabis community, even the broader gardening community, and engage. If you’re interested in what we’re discussing here, you have to show you’re interested.

Consider the friendly atmosphere of your local farmers market: Customers tend to have in-depth conversations with familiar faces, asking questions about agronomy and flavor profiles. Getting to know your farmer is a fundamental aspect of a more sustainable economy. The same goes for cannabis. Breeders and growers like Max and Jake and Chris, and growers in the licensed landscape like DeJesus are deeply committed to education about this plant.

This gets to the heart of why home grow laws are important

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 15
Photo by Eric Sandy This is Black Magic, a cross between Blackberry Kush and Blue Permafrost, grown by the one and only @professor_bluntstache.

in the long slog of U.S. cannabis reform. Allowing home grow keeps the province of the plant in the hands of the people. A taxed-andregulated market is strictly a reality of how the U.S. economy functions; given the federal illegality, it’s… complicated… but that market plays an important role in engaging customer demand.

Maintaining home grow, however, is the key to the 21stcentury cannabis story.

“It symbolizes freedom unlike anything else,” Jake says.

DeJesus agrees: “Home grow is a very important part of any cannabis policy,” she says. Not every state allows people to cultivate cannabis at home, and so it must be taken as a meaningful insistence of the will of the voters that this activity is now legal in Ohio.

That may not mean much to everyone. If you’ve read this far and you care little for cannabis, then, uh, thank you for reading. But if you do care for the far reaches of this plant’s capabilities, then you can now participate, free of shackles, in that planetary narrative of discovering who we are and what we’re meant to do here. Cannabis reveals much about our shared existence on Earth.

“What people don’t understand on a very sentimental, emotional, spiritual level, is that this plant becomes part of our family,” Max says. “It becomes part of me.”

Imagine that. And with just a nice pot of soil and some water and some sunshine, maybe even a bowl of Fritos and the full run of Kids in the Hall on DVD, you too can dive into the cosmic vastness of life itself and find a sense of who you truly are.

Your Home-Grown Cannabis Glossary

Whether you’re a curious newcomer or a seasoned grower looking to refresh your knowledge, understanding the key terms associated with cannabis can greatly enhance your growing experience. Cannabis is a complicated plant! You don’t want to sound like a poseur, do you?

Cannabis: The real name for the plant (not “weed,” “bud,” “marijuana,” “pot,” “ganja,” “cheeba,” “kind,” “sticky icky,” “jazz cabbage” or any of that nonsense, despite the fact that we used all of those terms in this article). Scientifically speaking, Cannabis is the plant genus.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol):

The primary psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation. THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, et al., are known as cannabinoids.

CBD (Cannabidiol): A prevalent compound in cannabis that is known for its medical benefits without the psychoactive effects that THC provides. It’s used for pain relief, reducing inflammation, and alleviating anxiety without the intoxicating effects.

Indica, Sativa, Hybrid: These terms have lost favor in the industry. Previously thought to be separate species of cannabis, “indica” and “sativa” now refer colloquially to the general feeling of the high. Indica plants, if you must use the term, are more sedative. (Think “in-dacouch,” obnoxiously.) Sativa plants are more energizing. Hybrid plants are exactly as they sound, and just know that pretty much every strain out there these days is effectively a “hybrid” plant. TL;DR Just don’t use these terms.

Terpenes: Aromatic compounds found in cannabis that influence its scent and also contribute to the effects and medicinal benefits of different strains. Common terpenes include myrcene (sedative effects), limonene (energizing), and pinene (anti-anxiety). Know your terpenes! These terms can prompt fun conversations at the dispensary, and they’ll help you understand your own home-grown plants even better.

Trichomes: Tiny, bulbous, crystal-like structures on the surface of cannabis plants that produce cannabinoids and terpenes. They are often used to determine plant maturity and harvest time by their color and appearance. As Nathan Rutz says, “Get out your loupe and take a look!”

Tromblurts: These are the small, almost microscopic–nah, we’re just messing with you since we know you’re reading this all stoned out of your mind.

Feminized Seeds: Cannabis seeds that have been bred to produce only female plants. Female plants are preferred for cannabis cultivation because only females produce the buds or flowers that are harvested for their high cannabinoid content. If you’re growing plants at home and you have no idea what you’re doing, start with feminized seeds.

Autoflowering: This term refers to cannabis strains that automatically switch from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage with age, rather than in response to changes in light cycle. If you’re growing plants at home and you have no idea what you’re doing,

start with autoflowering seeds.

Cloning: The process of taking a cutting from a mature cannabis plant and rooting it to grow a new plant with identical genetic makeup to the parent plant. If you’re growing indoors or you have some friends who are growing indoors, take a cutting of your mature plants this fall and keep the lineage alive!

Vegetative Stage: The growth phase of cannabis where the plant focuses on growing, prior to blooming. During this stage, cannabis plants need lots of light (about 18-24 hours a day) to encourage growth.

Flowering Stage: The stage of cannabis growth when the plant begins to produce buds. This stage is triggered by reducing the light exposure to about 12 hours a day, following the natural diurnal pattern of late summer and early fall.

Nutrients: Essential elements required by the plant for growth, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), among others. Cannabis plants have specific nutrient needs that change between the vegetative and flowering stages.

Curing: The process of aging dried cannabis flowers to maximize their potency and improve their taste and smell. Curing involves storing the cannabis in a controlled environment to allow for the breakdown of chlorophyll and the enhancement of cannabinoid profiles. Proper curing can significantly improve the quality and experience of the final product.

Medium: The substance in which cannabis plants grow. While soil is the most traditional medium, hydroponic systems use alternatives like coco coir, perlite, rockwool, or water enriched with nutrients. The choice of medium can affect water retention, nutrient availability, and aeration, all of which are vital to plant health and yield.

Light Cycle: Refers to the pattern of light and darkness that cannabis plants are exposed to. The light cycle is crucial for controlling the vegetative and flowering stages of growth in cannabis. In the vegetative stage, plants typically require 18-24 hours of light, while the flowering stage is induced by switching to a 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness cycle. Manipulating the light cycle allows growers to control when the plant flowers, optimizing growth for indoor environments.

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 17

GET OUT Everything to do in Cleveland for the next two weeks

WED 02/28

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

When a man is stabbed in his locked compartment while riding the famed Orient Express, investigator Hercule Poirot tries to figure out whodunnit. Tonight’s performance of this comedic twist on the Agatha Christie mystery takes place at 7:30 at the Hanna Theatre, where performances continue through March 3. 2067 East 14th St., 216-241-6000,

Cleveland Auto Show

Featuring concept, pre-production and production vehicles from many of the world’s top auto manufacturers, the Cleveland Auto Show returns to the I-X Center. The massive event occupies nearly 1.2-million square feet and features exhibits, vehicle giveaways and a classic car competition. Today’s hours are 5 to 10 p.m., and the show continues through Sunday. Consult the website for a complete schedule and for ticket prices. Parking is free. 1 I-X Center Dr., 216-676-6000,

Short. Sweet. Film Fest

Now in its 13th year, the Short. Sweet. Film Fest started when Michael Suglio, who was watching a few bands play at the punk club Now That’s Class (now No Class) some years back, realized that hosting a film festival in an informal, club-like atmosphere would be a good idea. While the festival began at Market Garden Brewery, it’s outgrown that space, and this year’s iteration of the event will take place from today through Sunday at Atlas Cinemas Shaker Square. Nearly 300 films will screen during the course of the festival, and there will be a Saturday night mixer. Check the website for a schedule and more info. 13116 Shaker Square,

THU 02/29


Cleveland State University presents this play inspired by the 1853 National Women’s Rights Convention. The production combines a historical account of the pioneers for women’s rights with the biography of a contemporary journalism student who writes about reproductive healthcare. Tonight’s performance takes place

at 7:30 at the Outcalt Theatre, where performances continue through March 3. 1407 Euclid Ave, 216-241-6000,

Zoltan Kaszas

A year after graduating high school, Zoltan Kaszas went to an open mic at the age of 19 in hopes of becoming a professional stand-up comedian. He hasn’t looked back. He performs tonight at 7 at Hilarities, where he has shows scheduled through Saturday. 2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425,

FRI 03/01

Champagne & Shamrocks

Tonight at 8 at Mandel Concert Hall, Murphy’s Irish Dancers and singer Connor Bogart O’Brien team up with Cleveland Pops Orchestra to play Irish songs and dances, including “Danny Boy” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.”

11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111,

Glamgore: Cartoon Network vs. Nickelodeon

Produced, marketed, and hosted by Anhedonia Delight, GlamGore has established itself as a presence in the Cleveland drag scene and beyond. GlamGore attracts audiences for their “love and appreciation of drag and performers” and for their “interest in showcasing their drag skills as an art form.” It’s one of few all-inclusive alternative drag events that incorporates curated themes in a safe and supportive space. Tonight’s performance takes place at 9 at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights. 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588,

Monsters vs. Chicago Wolves

The Chicago Wolves come to town tonight for a two-game stand against the Monsters. Tonight’s game begins at 7, and the two teams face off again at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,

The Price Is Right Live

This live version of the popular TV game show gives audience members the chance to win appliances, vacations and even a new car. Tonight’s event takes place at 7 at the State Theatre. 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000,

The HigJimbo’s Drag Circus comes to the Agora. See: Saturday, March 2.| Helene Cyr

SAT 03/02

2024 High School Rock Off Final Exam

Now in its 27th year, this high school battle of the bands will come to an end after this year’s competition concludes with a Final Exam featuring the best acts from battles that took place earlier this month. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Rock Hall.

1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-5158444,

Jimbo’s Drag Circus

Best known for competing on the first season of Canada’s Drag Race and the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World and winning the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Jimbo is a drag icon. She brings her extravagant two-hour show to the Agora tonight at 7. 5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221,

SUN 03/03

Around the World

Stephanie Childress conducts the Cleveland Orchestra as it pays tribute to the more 120 different ethnic groups that called Northeast Ohio home. The concert begins at 2 p.m. at Mandel Concert Hall.

11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111,

Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks

The Cavs will seek revenge when the New York Knicks, the team that knocked them out of last year’s NBA playoffs, come to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse tonight. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,

MON 03/

Monsters vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

The Grand Rapids Griffins come to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse tonight for a rare weekday game against the Monsters. The puck drops at 7 p.m. 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,

TUE 03/05

Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics

When the Cavs went to Boston for a pair of games last year, the Celtics swept them. They should fare better on their home court as the Celtics, perhaps the NBA’s best team, come into town for a game that begins tonight at 7. 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,

WED 03/06

Chamber Music in the Galleries

This monthly concert series at the

| | February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 18

Cleveland Museum of Art places young musicians from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University in the CMA galleries.

Now in its seventh season, the series features “mixed programs of chamber music” for “a unique and intimate experience.” The performances often feature instruments from the museum’s keyboard collection. Tonight’s concert begins at 6 and lasts for about an hour. Admission is free.

11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350,

THU 03/07

Alonzo Bodden

Comic Alonzo Bodden likes to make fun of the news, or lack thereof. “It seems Dennis Rodman is a bad diplomat,” he says before talking about how it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the former NBA star known for his antics and outbursts doesn’t represent the country particularly well. Bodden, who has a matter-of-fact delivery is funny because his material is so sharp. His Seinfeld-like observations about everyday life are generally on the money. He performs tonight at 7 at Hilarities, where he has shows scheduled through Saturday. 2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425,

FRI 03/08

Cavaliers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Perhaps the best team in the NBA’s Western Conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves come to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse tonight at 7:30 to take on the Cavs. The home stand then continues on Sunday, March 10, as the Cavs take on the Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m.

1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,

SAT 03/09

Bizarre Dance Triangle: Joy Division vs New Order

The Brit New Wave band New Order formed out of the ashes of Joy Division, and tonight’s dance party at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood celebrates both acts legacies. The event begins at 9, and tickets cost $10.

13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216521-3280,

Eddie Griffin

As an actor, Eddie Griffin has appeared in over 50 films. Comedy Central calls him one of the Top 100 Standup Comedians of all time, and Griffin

continues to film comedy specials. Tonight at 8, he brings his standup show to TempleLive at the Cleveland Masonic.

3615 Euclid Ave., 216-881-6350,

Totally Rad Vintage Fest

A variety of vendors hawking all things ‘80s, ‘90s and Y2K will be on hand at the I-X Center today as part of the Totally Rad Vintage Fest. Check the I-X Center website for hours and ticket prices.

1 I-X Center Dr., 216-676-6000,

SUN 03/10

Yefim Bronfman in Recital: Chopin & Schubert

Today at 3 p.m. at Mandel Concert Hall, pianist Yefim Bronfman performs pieces by Schubert, Robert Schumann, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Chopin. 11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111,

Louis Katz

This comedian released his latest special, Present/Tense, independently on YouTube in late 2023. It became an instant hit, garnering praise from fellow comics such as Ali Wong and Marc Moran. Katz performs at 7 tonight at Hilarities.

2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425,

MON 03/11

Cavs vs. Phoenix Suns

Plagued by injuries, the Phoenix Suns have underperformed this season. Laden with superstars like Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, they come to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse tonight to take on the Cavs. Tipoff is at 7. 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,

TUE 03/12

Monsters vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

The Monsters play a rare mid-week game tonight when they take on the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The puck drops at 7. One Center Court, 216-420-2000,

Fri. 03/08

Sat. 03/09

Fri. 03/15

Sat. 03/16

Fri. 03/22

Sat. 03/23

Fri. 03/29

Sat. 03/30

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 19 t@clevelandscene
MICK & RICK BANK JONES’N MY FRIEND JACK KARAOKE LEES BROTHERS KARAOKE ROCK ‘N ROLL EXPRESS KARAOKE 8pm-11pm 9pm-12am 8pm-11pm 9pm-12am 8pm-11pm 9pm-12am 8pm-11pm 9pm-12am
| | February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 20


With a new waterfront address, Sushi 86 keeps adapting and evolving

SUSHI 86 IS HERE TO disprove that old adage about “good, fast and cheap.” In the time it would take an online food order to be delivered to one’s home or office, a diner could enjoy a speedy and delicious Japanese lunch – complete with soup, a trio of nigiri sushi and a roll – for the equitable sum of $25. And unlike that dreary workplace cubicle, this meal comes with nautical views of the North Coast Harbor and beyond.

If you’re a fan of this tenacious local restaurant, then you know it’s wise to double check the address before heading out. Since Rachel and Mike Hsu opened the first shop in 2000, Sushi 86 has called seven different locations home. Compared to the first – a five-seat, 250-squarefoot shoebox on Public Square –this latest residence is downright palatial. This past summer, the owners swapped their previous digs in the 5th Street Arcades for an attractive space at Harbor Verandas, which is a two-minute stroll from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The fishbowl dining room offers panoramic views of attractions such as Browns Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center, SS Mather and the Goodtime III.

There has always been a dearth of waterfront dining options in this neck of the woods – who can forget the maritime delights of Hornblowers? – and the situation hasn’t much improved. It’s understandable given the feast-orfamine economics of operating in a tourist district; Sushi 86 fills those gaps with steady event catering.

Indoors, a 10-stool sushi bar anchors the 60-seat dining room, which is equipped with a pair of soft-seating areas that are ideal for a casual lunch or place to wait for carryout. When the weather warms up, diners will be able to enjoy those watery views from the other side of the glass thanks to a sizable harborside patio.

Sushi 86 was created as the quick-serve alternative to raw-fish temples like Shuhei, where the Hsus worked prior to going solo. Their menu was shorter but fresher, they argued, with carryout-friendly items like rolls and bento boxes designed for harried commuters. The name “86” was a nod to the items that Shuhei would invariably run out of.

All these years and locations later, Sushi 86 still plays it pretty tight. This isn’t the place to come for an exotic, ever-shifting roster of raw fish. Nigiri and sashimi lovers are limited to a greatest hits-style roundup of varieties like tuna, yellowtail, salmon, eel, mackerel and the like. Those fishes are available as part of a 3-piece ($11) or 6-piece ($21) nigiri plate or in the 6-piece sashimi box ($12). Uni was unavailable during a recent visit.

Sushi 86 has always excelled at rolls, with a dizzying assortment of slender 6-piece rolls and fatter 8-piece rolls. Over the course of two meals we enjoyed the spicy scallop roll ($9.25), yellowtail jalapeno roll ($8.25) and the rainbow roll ($14.95). That last large roll featured large pieces of escolar, tuna and salmon draped over crab and avocado


1050 East 9th St., Cleveland 216-621-8686

centers. The “best name award” goes to the 3-Way Reverse Cowgirl, a shrimp tempura, avocado and faux-crab salad devised by the band Hinder when they passed through town some years ago.

In terms of starters, the options are equally concise, with edamame, seaweed salad and a dish of alien-red pickled baby octopus ($7.95) served cold in a sesame-flavored marinade. Inari ($3.50) is a sweet and savory snack of fried tofu skin stuffed with seasoned rice. An order of uber-crisp shrimp tempura ($8), it soon dawns on us, is one of only two items on the entire menu that is served hot, the standard miso soup ($3.75) being the other.

Sushi 86 has survived these many years by adapting to the unpredictable forces around them. During Covid, management condensed the menu, went essentially virtual, and even sold off the liquor license. An as-yetunopened poke concept was brought

under the Sushi 86 umbrella. Those bowls are available here, generous portions of white or brown rice (or greens) topped with any combination of fish, veggies, toppings and sauces. The Shell-a-Bowl ($16.95), for example, features shrimp, “crab” salad, cucumber, avocado and crunch.

After a meal of some nigiri, a few small and large rolls, and one of those bottomless poke bowls, rice fatigue begins to creep in. The good news is that, once again, change is afoot at Sushi 86. In the coming days and weeks, Hsu will be adding gyoza and ramen to the menu.

Less than five years after peddling her liquor license, Hsu says that she’s found joy on the open market and will soon begin offering hard beverages.

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 21
EAT t@dougtrattner
Doug Trattner


First look: YYTime, a new food hall opening soon in Asiatown


I find myself immersed in a fragrant cloud of smoke. On the floor of the kitchen is a makeshift altar with symbolic offerings of fruit, food and money. Candles flicker and incense smolders. The owner tells me that the ritual is designed to invite good fortune and prosperity into the building, which will soon welcome its first guests.

It’s been nearly two years since Sheng Long Yu announced his plans to convert the former National Tire & Battery property at E. 30th and Payne in Cleveland’s Asiatown neighborhood into an Asian food hall. Not surprisingly, his plans for the massive property have evolved during that time.

plumbing and HVAC. The dining room seats 100 guests, far fewer than the space would allow. Next to the open kitchen is the bubble tea stall, which will serve coffee drinks, shaved ice, and milk and fruit teas with dozens and dozens of topping options.

*Prices may vary. Tax & gratuity are not included. Carryout available in select member restaurants.

Instead of hosting five independent operators, each with his or her own street food concept, Yu says he was persuaded to run the whole show himself. Primarily, YYTime will be the new home for Dagu Rice Noodle, which opened next door to Koko Bakery in 2019. In anticipation of the move, Yu closed the restaurant late last year. Joining Dagu will be a bubble tea bar, yakitori station, and others, all operating out of a large open kitchen.

“YYTime is the name of the building and within the building we have the rice noodles, the bubble tea, the yakitori, the buns and all that,” Yu explains. “Later on, our goal is to expand, and depending on the different markets or spaces available, we could do the bubble tea or the yakitori or whatever.”

Since opening Shinto Japanese Steakhouse in Strongsville 20 years ago, the Chinese-born entrepreneur has opened Kenko Sushi in University Circle and Kent, Dagu Rice Noodle in Asiatown, Hell’s Fried Chicken in University Circle, a second Shinto location in Westlake and Lao Sze Chuan at Pinecrest.

Given the state of the former semi-industrial property he inherited, Yu says that this was his most challenging project to date. The 10,000-square-foot building required all new electrical,

The dining room will operate on a modified full-service model. Guests will be seated and given a tablet for ordering. The food will be delivered to the table via human or, possibly, a robot. Fans of Dagu Rice Noodle will find those soups and starters here, but the menu has been expanded to include more hot and cold appetizers. A yakitori station will offer skewers threaded with chicken, lamb, pork and seafood options. Pan-fried buns and dumplings will be stuffed with savory fillings.

A roomy soft seating area sits just inside the door, and it’s one of the most important spaces in the restaurant. YYTime, says Yu, translates into quality time spent with friends and family – an activity he hopes to cultivate at his latest creation.

“What I want to create is a place with a fun atmosphere where friends can hang out and have a good time,” he says. “Right now in Cleveland there is no Asian restaurant able to create this type of atmosphere.”

All of this activity gobbles a mere fraction of the building. Down the road, the facility will be used as a production and distribution hub for wholesale foods like buns and dumplings. Other plans include adding a family friendly arcade.

Yu says that he hopes to open the doors the last week of February.

Rick Doody Has Purchased Bell & Flower in Chagrin Falls

Two months ago, Rick Doody quietly purchased Bell & Flower in Chagrin Falls, which Michael Schwartz opened in 2018, a year after Rick’s Café closed its doors after four decades in business.

The purchase brings Doody’s

restaurants, members and contact information visit:

holdings in the area up to three, joining JoJo’s Bar and 17 River Grille. Outside of the village, Doody also operates Bar Italia, Cedar Creek Grille and Lindey’s Lake House.

Doody will continue operating the restaurant as Bell & Flower until he receives all the necessary approvals and permits to begin working on the property. It’s a period of time that he has no control over, he says. But when that paperwork comes through, Doody will put considerable effort and money into the space to bring it back to its former glory.

“We want to bring the building back to its historic roots,” Doody explains. “It’s a 150-year-old building and we want to make it look like a 150-year-old building again. We believe in Chagrin Falls and believe it’s worth putting money into this.”

Plans call for swapping the current industrial vibe for a more classic bistro décor with tin ceilings, wood floors, exposed brick walls and a long bar along one side. Doody also wants to swap the front windows for ones that slide open while adding a door and windows leading to the alley patio.

As inspiration, Doody is looking to one of Columbus’ most enduring gems: Lindey’s in German Village, which his mother opened 40plus years ago. The front space particularly has a timeless vibe and look that would feel right at home in

Chagrin Falls.

“We love Pastis and Balthazar and some of the great bistros of New York,” adds Doody. “I’ve got a lot of experience with the cuisine and what works, what doesn’t. You have to walk a fine line between authenticity of a French bistro but not going too far.”

A great neighborhood bistro is a chameleon of sorts, as appropriate a place to go for a cheeseburger and fries as it is to celebrate a special occasion with a shimmering shellfish tower.

“That’s the beauty of an authentic bistro menu,” Doody states.

Doody’s timeline is at the mercy of permitting approvals, but in a perfect world he would get the necessary permits in time to complete the work, estimated at two months, and open the doors in late summer or early fall.

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 23 t@dougtrattner
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Local singersongwriter Brian Alan Hager to debut new backing band

LOCAL SINGER-SONGWRITER and multi-instrumentalist Brian Alan Hager began his musical journey decades ago. He started playing guitar and keyboards at the age of 7, shortly after his mom passed away from diabetes and heart disease. Then, his dad bought an organ, and he played that. After dabbling on organ, Hager gravitated to guitar. His friend had one, and Hager would play it every time they hung out. His father bought him his own guitar, and he began seriously studying how to play the instrument.

Now a prolific solo artist who’s active on the local scene, Hager just released his new four-song EP, Rock and Soul (Side B), which follows last year’s four-song Rock and Soul (Side A). The disc serves as a tribute to the rock, blues and soul music that has influenced him over the years. The music represents a departure from the “exploratory” and mostly acoustic and synth-based sound of his 2022 release, The Condition of Things. A full 12-song Rock and Soul album will be released in the summer and feature another set of four songs and include the eight songs from Sides A and B.

Mainly a solo performer since the pandemic began in 2020, Hagar will debut his first full band in several years at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, at Broadview Brewing Company in Broadview Heights. The ensemble features Hager’s son, guitarist Jonah Hager, bassist Steve Millner, keyboardist Jonah Benchek and drummer Max Reynolds. His “jam band” will perform reinterpreted versions of his songs and will feature special guest appearances from other musicians from the Cleveland music scene.

“Everyone is constantly releasing stuff, so the EP is my way

of getting stuff out more often,” Hager says one evening from the finished side of the basement of his Seven Hills home where he has a recording console set up. An Elvis Costello painting by the late local artist and musician David Kay Kraska hangs on the wall as does an old poster advertising a show by the Chromes, one of Hager’s bands. “My first release had a lot of songs that were slower tempo. I needed to do songs I could play out live at these places. People want more uptempo stuff. I usually don’t write songs like that.”

But after listening to bluesbased rock from acts like Tedeschi Trucks, Black Keys and the Record Company, he started to adopt his own blues-rock sound.

“I dig the stuff,” he says when asked about those influences. “It’s very throwback. It would work good for my live shows. That’s the concept. It’s rock and soul songs and some with a country flair.”

One album highlight, “I’m Alice in Wonderland,” a song with humming synths and a soaring guitar riff, recalls the Brit-pop of acts such as Oasis and Blur.

“That song is about a selfdiscovery moment I had when I was seeing colors,” says Hager when asked about the tune. “My feelings were changing every instant. I felt

like I was in Alice in Wonderland. My feelings were going from sad to happy to scared. I was seeing colors. It created self-discovery and I thought about all my insecurities and what drives me. That’s what that song is about. That situation made me more self-aware.”

With synthesizers that recall the ones that Heart and Rush used in the ‘70s, “Let Me Be Myself” has a proggy feel.

The alt-country-inspired “Cool It Down” goes for something twangier.

“That song is about my desire to have everyone get together like we used to through human interaction,” he says of “Cool It Down.” “We don’t connect with enough people.”

A song that opens with a muscular guitar riff and hardhitting drums, “Don’t Bring Me Down Again” rocks hard and allows Hager to shred on guitar.

“The news brings me down; there is so much negativity and people who emulate negativity in daily life. That’s me saying, ‘I won’t let this bother me,’” Hager says of the track. “My wife likes to watch

the news, and I watch it with her, but sometimes, I just can’t take it.”

Hager currently performs regionally as a solo artist at wineries, breweries, festivals and other venues, with regular visits to Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. He has more than 40 shows booked for 2024, and he’s particularly excited to debut the band.

“We’re taking my songs, the new and the old ones, and reinterpreting them as a jam band,” he says. “These guys know music theory, and they can solo. We go around and do solos and extended versions. I always wanted to be in a jam band and loved Gov’t Mule and Derek Trucks, but I never had the players for it. Everyone in the band now is solid. I just need to get busy and network with people a little more. I’ve been solo for three years now, and I haven’t been in that circle of people as much as I would like to.”

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 24 t@jniesel

LIVEWIRE Real music in the real world

FRI 03/01

Blonde Redhead

Once heralded as the next Sonic Youth, this noise rock band out of New York caused a stir in the early ‘90s after releasing its 1995 self-titled debut album. Taking a break from recording after releasing Barragán in 2014, the group returned last year with the surprisingly accessible Sit Down for Dinner. Songs such as “Snowman,” a tune with a folk rock-feel, feature soft vocals and gentle guitars. The group performs tonight at 7 at the Roxy at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood.

13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216521-3280,

SAT 03/02

Silversun Pickups

Last year, this terrific indie rock act returned with Acoustic Thrills, an EP that features live, stripped-down and reimagined versions of three songs off its latest album, the Butch Vigproduced Physical Thrills. The EP was performed and recorded as part of a Gibson Guitars series. Expect the band to plug in, however, when it plays at 7 tonight at House of Blues.

308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583,

Maddie Zahm

This singer-songwriter writes candidly about dealing with mental health issues on her debut album, Now That I’ve Been Honest. Tunes such as “Eightball Girl” start quietly and then explode as Zahm adopts a soulful croon. Famously booted off American Idol for forgetting the lyrics to a Pink! song, Zahm’s career has come full circle (she opened for Pink! last year). Tonight’s show at the Beachland Ballroom begins at 8. 15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

SUN 03/03

Sam Hunt

A guy who wrote songs for the likes of Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban before delivering his own hit tunes, Sam Hunt make quite the splash with his debut studio album, 2014’s Montevallo, an album that yielded five successful singles. The country music superstar performs tonight at 7:30 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown. Brett Young and Lily Rose open.

229 East Front St., Youngstown, 330-7465600,

TUE 03/05

Mary Timony

Talented singer-guitarist Mary Timony just delivered her latest effort Untame the Tiger. The album, her first studio release in 15 years, finds her in good form. The lurching “Summer” features the same kind of quiet intensity that made the late Elliott Smith so special, and “Dominoes” features complex time signature changes. Timony performs tonight at 8 at the Beachland Tavern. Youbet opens.

15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

WED 03/06


Michigan-based rapper James Edward Johnson, better known by his stage name BabyTron, originally formed a rap trio while still in high school. Essentially a novelty tune, their 2019 hit “Jesus Shuttlesworth” features thick bass riffs and rapid-fire vocals. Now a prolific solo artist, BabyTron delivered both new studio albums and an EP last year. His concert begins tonight at 7 at the Agora Theatre.

5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221,

Tanner Usrey

This Texas-born singer-songwriter just released the deluxe version of his recently released debut album, Crossing Lines. One highlight finds him collaborating with Ella Langley on the tune “Beautiful Lies.” He performs tonight at 8 at the Beachland Ballroom. Kat Hasty opens.

15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

THU 03/07

Bobby Rush

Just last year, singer Bobby Rush recorded an album of brand new spirited blues numbers. Dubbed All My Love for You, it finds the 90-year-old singer in great form. Rush recently re-recorded his 1971 hit “Chicken Heads” with his old friend Buddy Guy and he penned his autobiography, I Ain’t Studdin’ You: My American Blues Story. Tonight at 8, he comes to the Beachland Ballroom. Austin “Walkin” Cane and DJ Pete London open.

15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

FRI 03/08

Alkaline Trio

Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs, the latest effort from this emo act, shows off the band’s ability to balance harmony and heavy music. Album opener “Hot for Preacher” features the kind of Smiths-like vocals for which the band is known. The group brings its tour in support of the album to the Agora tonight at 7. Drug Church and Worries open.

5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221,

Blue October

Blue October, a group that sounds a bit like the Dave Matthews Band, formed in 1995 in Houston, Texas and initially self-released its debut on the label run by the parents of frontman Justin Furstenfeld and his brother, drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld. Now, they’ve moved well beyond those humble beginnings and found commercial success. They come to TempleLive at the Cleveland Masonic tonight at 8. 3615 Euclid Ave., 216-881-6350,

SAT 03/09

Avenged Sevenfold: Life Is But a Dream North American Tour

Avenged Sevenfold, the veteran hard rock band that formed in 1999, returned with its eighth album, Life Is But a Dream, last year. Inspired by the writings of existentialist author Albert Camus, the songs center on abstract concepts. The soaring single, “Nobody,” features operatic vocals and cinematic synths. Tonight at 6:30, the group brings the tour in support of the album to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Poppy and Sullivan King open. 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,


This indie rock act out formed in Rochester, NY back in 2010 and has steadily toured and recorded ever since. Its most recent album, 2022’s Cleanse, an album of shimmering synth-pop tunes that explore the feelings of isolation and desolation brought about by the pandemic. The group performs tonight at 7 at the Roxy at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood.

13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216521-3280,

SUN 03/10

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox

A self-described “throwback carnival” that has toured the world on the popularity of its music videos that have given the band huge followings on YouTube and Facebook, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox offers a range of clever covers, including a woozy take on “All About That Bass” and a particularly soulful rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo.” The group performs tonight at 7 at the Agora.

5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221,

Matisyahu — Hold the Fire Tour

Released on his own label Fallen Sparks Records, Matisyahu’s new album, Hold the Fire, centers on the four earth elements. The EP’s first single, “Fireproof,” addresses Matisyahu’s unwavering ability to keep his artistic fire burning. The reggae singer-songwriter brings his tour in support of the album to House of Blues at 7 tonight.

308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583,

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 25 t@clevelandscene
Avenged Sevenfold plays Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. See: Saturday, March 9.



1. Best advice on dating without resorting to apps?

Go places, do shit, meet people, fuck ‘em.

2. I’m about to visit a gay nudist resort for the first time (although I’ve been to heterosexual nudist resorts in the past). I’ve been bi all my life and am now in my 70s. What should I expect?

Dick if you’re lucky, crabs if you’re not.

3. I’m a heterosexual woman and I don’t like to kiss a guy after he’s gone down on me. Is there something wrong with me? Do most women not mind?

There are places on own bodies we can’t reach with our tongues. For some of us, making out with someone who just went down on us — someone who just ate our pussy or our ass or sucked our dick — presents us with an opportunity to taste those parts of bodies we would never get to taste otherwise. But opportunity ≠ obligation. If you don’t want to taste your own pussy or your own ass or your own cock, you don’t have to. Sending someone off to wash their face in the middle of sex would indeed be weird, but wiping someone’s face with the t-shirt you were wearing before you started fucking around can be kinda hot.

4. Once you get tolyamory into everyday use, would you please craft a single gender-neutral word that could replace “sir” and “ma’am”? I’m non-binary and every customer service interaction makes me bristle because the employee who is just being polite — always misgenders me. Can we have one word for all people instead of trying to discern gender in every interaction?

My commie friends think comrade would work: “Your call is very important to us, comrade! Please remain on the line, comrade! Someone will be with you shortly, comrade!” But I think “homo” is a stronger choice. Not “homo” short for homosexual, but “homo” short for homo sapiens: “Welcome to Chili’s, homo. I’ll be your server, homo. What would you like, homo?”)

5. I just come out as gay. I’ve always wanted an exclusive relationship, but I don’t think most gay guys are into that. I have accepted that pretty much any future boyfriend will either cheat on me or I will have to agree to an open relationship at some point because that’s what all gay couples do. I’m just looking for advice. There are gay men out there who want exclusive relationships and you should seek those men out. But in my experience ahem — it’s almost always the person who insists on monogamy who cheats first. Not always, but almost always. So, in addition to wondering how you’ll react if and/or when your future boyfriend cheats or

wants to open the relationship, spend some time thinking through how you’ll handle things if and/or when you wanna open the relationship.

6. My partner and I used to be hot and heavy, but now we’re in a sexless phase, and I’d like to get back to how we used to be. Any tips? This isn’t a problem you can solve unless your partner wants to solve it. So, talk to your partner, tell them you miss the great sex you used to have together, and ask them if they wanna work on reconnecting. Now, there’s a chance your partner won’t wanna solve this problem — they might not regard being sexless as a problem — but they’ll tell you they wanna work on it because that’s what you wanna hear. Now, sometimes a person tells their partner what they wanna hear because they don’t wanna hurt their feelings or because they’re not ready to have a conversation about the kind of reasonable accommodations that make sexless relationships work, e.g., permission to discreetly get sexual needs met elsewhere.

7. On the one hand, my partner says he loves me, and that should make me feel secure. On the other hand, he’s resistant to phone calls. He has a zillion reasons why he doesn’t like talking on the phone, but they don’t add up. How do I get him to like doing phone calls? And phone sex?

I have the same problem with my boyfriend only it’s texting he hates, not phone calls. If anyone out there has managed to convert a texter into a caller or vice-versa, drop your advice on in the comments, please.

8. Best places to find straight feminist sex stories to get me revved up?

Have you checked out Dipsea? They advertise on the Lovecast — full disclosure — but they have tons of great feminist erotica and other hot content. And while there’s no shortage of porn and erotica out there for men, gay and otherwise, there’s nothing like Dipsea for us and I’m actually kind of jealous.

9. What do you do when your boyfriend’s dick often smells/tastes like urine and that is not a turn-on for you? Here’s what you do: You tell your boyfriend his dick stinks and that he’s gonna need to do a better job keeping it clean if he wants you to keep putting it in your mouth. If Paris is worth a mass, as the King of France once said, a blowjob is worth a bath.

10. Is hiring a surrogate to have a baby unethical? I have two kids and can’t physically carry again.

The Pope thinks surrogacy is unethical — so whatever you decide to do, don’t hire that elderly celibate to carry your next baby for you.

11. Why don’t we have better words to describe the complexity of our relationships? I did my part with monogamish and tolyamorous… and the anime avatar kids on Tumblr came up demisexual and pansexual and skoliosexual and androphilic and gynephilic and polyamory and polyfidelity and heteronormativity and homonormativity and repronormativity and on and on. There are so many words to describe our relationships these days — including our

relationships with ourselves — that I can barely keep up. But before you assumed some relationship type or dynamic doesn’t already have a name, spend a little time scrolling through Ace Dad’s Instagram feed — because, man, they have a word for everything

12. Is there a word for the man who you are the mistress of?

Okay, I spent an hour scrolling through Ace Dad’s Instagram feed and I didn’t find the word you’re looking for. For all I know the word is out there somewhere — a word for a married male affair partner — but I wasn’t able to find it. If someone else wants to take a look and/or make a suggestion, the comment thread is open.

13. New to BDSM play. How best to recover from the physical aftereffects? When kinksters talk about “aftercare,” they’re usually referring to emotional aftercare — some cuddles, some reassurance. But if you’re into physically challenging BDSM (impact play, TT, CBT, punishing bondage), the body need aftercare too: some ibuprofen, a hot bath, a nice massage.

14. How do I convince my husband to allow my BF to sleep with us in our bedroom?

Your husband is fine with you having a boyfriend but wants your bedroom to remain at least for now — sacred to you as couple. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request on his part. A boyfriend is a big ask, our bedroom is just for us is small one.

15. Anal sex with a condom and then oral sex with the condom off right after — is that safe?

It’s safer than a salad bar.

16. Did you buy the mug?

I did.

17. My sister’s world was torn apart this week when her husband of fifteen years was arrested for having an affair with a 17-year-old student of his. They are now separating and who knows if my brother-inlaw is going to jail. I want to provide support, but I am out of ideas. I have suggested therapy, STI testing, and finding a support group. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Therapy, STI testing, and support groups are all good and necessary suggestions — but not every suggestion has to be practical. If your sister is getting help, got tested, and has some people to talk to who’ve gone through what she’s going through, what she probably needs now are some distractions.

So, suggest some shows to binge (Couple to Throuple, True Detective), some things to read (The Palace by Gareth Russell, The Other Significant Others by Rhaina Cohen), and some places to go (cool new restaurants, secluded cabins) that will take your sister’s mind off her troubles.

18. There’s a man at my gym who wears a cock cage. I can just see it through his shorts. I am also caged. Can I tell him I noticed his cage and let him know I’m also locked or would that be too weird?

“Might be weird,” said a friend who sometimes wears a cock cage to the gym. “Basically, ‘being locked’ and ‘wanting

people to know you’re locked’ are sometimes correlated — but not always. So, while it may be fun to have a new caged buddy, there is a risk saying something will come off as, ‘Hey, stranger! I’m looking at your dick while you work out!’ Which may be unwelcome, as not everyone wants that kind of attention at the gym.”

But if you see him in a bar some night and the vibe is dirty and flirty, well, you have the perfect opening line: “I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.”

19. I have a semi partner, or a quasipartner. I don’t really know what to call him, as he resists labels as well as conversations about defining our relationship. We’ve been seeing each other for a year. Is it too much to ask that we can talk about what we are to each other? He says he loves me, and I believe him. I love him, too. But I need some clarity.

Clarity is not too much to ask — so ask away.

20. Is it passive-aggressive to save the phone number of your FWB’s BF as “Dave Rick’s Boyfriend”?

Seeing as “Dave” and “Rick” are both such common names, saving a few context clues along with those names is a good idea. The more detailed and explicit those saved context clues are, the less likely you are to send a dick pick to a relative with the same first name.

21. How about hosting Savage Love Live at a time an elementary school teacher and Magnum Sub — could actually attend? We will try to schedule a special late-night Savage Love Live soon!

22. How do you get a straight man to pull his weight around the house?

By leaving him alone in it — not for the day or a weekend, but forever.

23. I think there’s potential with this woman I just met but she is not letting me miss her —meaning, she’s always texting, calling, and sending voice messages. We have only been on one date. I want to see here again but I am slow to warm to new people. I have used my words and she said she hears me but it hasn’t stopped. How many times do I explain my boundaries before I give up because this is not a price of admission that I can pay. Am I being unreasonable?

You are not being unreasonable and you’re right to find this woman’s behavior off putting. It’s not just the texts, calls, and voice mails pouring in after one date, it’s the fact that you asked her to stop and she didn’t. So, she’s demonstrating poor impulse control (not something we look for in a romantic partner) along with zero inability to self-regulate (ditto). Tell her to knock it off one more time and if she doesn’t… no second date.

24. The way you talk about sounding on your podcast makes me think you’ve been sounded at some point. Care to share? A lady never tells.

Got problems? Yes, you do. Send your question to! Podcasts, columns and more at Savage.Love t@fakedansavage

February 28 - Mar 12, 2024 | | 26




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