A Day in the Life of Jim Pflager, Akron Rubberducks GM
The PorchRokr Preview with Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites and Axon-Neuron
The Devil Strip AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12 • THEDEVILSTRIP.COM
How South Street and Turning Point are changing lives FREE
e r u t l u C & t r A , ic s u M Akron
e d a m e r e w s e k a t s i M
, R O T A IG V A N T S U R T H IT W , (BUT TOTALLY NOT, LIKE ) M O S N A R A H S E E K A L . R D R O L E K IC R D D O T . R D , S IP H S R E N T R A P IC ACADEM
in this issue
The Devil Strip
Let them eat olives!
Akron Music, Art & Cu
Publisher >> Chris Horne // email@example.com
They aren’t running the university like a business and that’s the problem
Art Director >>
by Chris Horne, Publisher
Alesa Upholzer, Talented and Patient
Copy Editor >> Jessica “My name is not Jecca” Cherok
The subtle message undergirding the University of Akron’s “What I did with my summer vacation” narrative is that they’re running the university like a business.
Staff writers, photogs & cartoonists >> Holly “The Wanderer” Brown Jenny Conn, Real O.G. Storyteller
$40 million shortfall come? These are the kinds of questions the Akron community deserves to have answered, which is traditionally where your news media enters the picture.
Brit Charek, Craftiest Staff Writer/Maker of Empires Jessica Conti, Says She’s Not That Clever But Must Be Lying Katelyn Gainer, Something Something Awesome or Badass M. Sophie Hamad, Poet Mom Staff Writer Noor Hindi, Will Get Back to Chris about That Paul “I don’t write” Hoffman Isaac Kelley, Nerd-In-Chief
In a business, within reason, you can hire anyone you want. In a business, you don’t have to tell anyone outside the company—or even many inside the company—what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. In a business, you can contract with pretty much any company you please. Maybe you’ve thought about these things. “What’s the big deal? They’re running the university like a business!” Except they aren’t.
Chris “the Film Freak” Kessinger Jacob Luther, the Towny Townie Toonist Greg Milo, the Workin’ Class Vegan Man Christopher with K “not to be confused with Chris H” Morrison Svetla Morrison, The Balkan Comrade Brittany Nader, Sass Master Flash Ilenia Pezzaniti, Our Short, Tired Garbanzo Bean Eatin', WTF Video Girl Writer Roger Riddle, Wears the Purple Pants Sarah Stubbs, Tall Intern Bronlynn Thurman, Culture writer in eggplant purple Natalie Warren, a Life in Red Lipstick Katie “Um, can you repeat the question?” Wheeler Joanna Wilson, Director of the Dept. of Tattoos & Morrissey The Shane Wynn Supremacy
Contributors >> Dominic Caruso, Swiss Artsy Knife; Megan “social cat” Combs, former loser/hoser and now poser; Susan Covey; Emily Dressler; Katie Jackson, Miss Scarlet in the Conservatory with a candlestick; Marissa Marangoni, Bathroom Culture Enthusiast; Eric Morris, Was Abducted By Jojo Pizzaface’; Scott Piepho; Elizabeth “Only in Akron” Tyran
Interns >> Madison Cummins, Sarah Stubbs, Audrey Quinn
CONTACT US: Office ................................................. (330) 842-6606 General Info ........................... firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising .............................. email@example.com Distribution ..........................firstname.lastname@example.org Website .................................. www.thedevilstrip.com Facebook ..........................Facebook.com/thedevilstrip Twitter .............................................. @akrondevilstrip Instagram ............................................. @thedevilstrip The Devil Strip is published bi-monthly by Random Family, LLC. Akron Distribution: The Devil Strip is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. Copyright: The entire contents ofThe Devil Strip are copyright 2015 by Random Family, LLC. 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.
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
President Scott Scarborough isn’t running the university like a business because in a business, he’d be using his money—not millions in taxpayer dollars. When it’s someone else’s money, it’s easier to pad the six-figure salary of an under-qualified candidate you prefer with an extra $100,000 a year more than their predecessor received. If the trustees were running the University of Akron like a business into which they, like stockholders, had invested large amounts of their own money, would they approve nearly $1 million in renovations for the house where Scarborough lives? “Oh, but Chris, it’s totally okay because that came from private donations!” One, the laborers—before they were fired—were paid by the university, not private donations. Two, considering the financial crisis Scarborough inherited, why didn’t the trustees talk those private donors into putting their money towards something else on campus? Even half that amount could have funded UA Press for multiple years, or almost paid for another season of baseball while the university looked for help in the community. Even if you think the house needed work, who in the world thinks budgeting $140,000 on furnishings is, to quote Pavloff, “acceptable”? You could argue the responsible—albeit “tough”—decision would have been to sell the house, donate the proceeds to the university and give Scarborough a housing allowance. If they considered these options—and you’d hope they had—why didn’t they go that route? Totally legit question, right? Might have a totally legit answer. But I haven’t heard it. Ditto for many of the others I’ve asked. Why cut one position from the football program but 54 from Student Success? How could Scarborough defend the $8 million spent on football as a “marketing expense”? Aren’t there other, perhaps more productive and less expensive ways to market UA? According to UA’s 2014-15 budget, the university brought in $4 million more than it spent, so from whence did this
Well, friends, this rinky-dink publication of ours isn’t getting anywhere with the people who hold the answers to these questions. They’re ready to put this summer in the rearview. They do not want this to fester long enough for the campus to fill up with students, staff and faculty. So, I’m still waiting for responses to questions that are a week old, some older. I’m waiting on a records request, made in July, to get a list detailing who was laid off, who retired, who quit and which positions hadn’t been filled, which you’d think they already know. It took a week to get the apology Dr. Todd Rickel mentions in his statement about the “careless mistakes” on his vita (His written apology to Provost Mike Sherman is literally “I apologize for the errors…”). From the beginning, I’ve asked for a plan that explains why some cuts were made and others weren’t, a logic guiding the “difficult decisions” Scarborough and the trustees say they have to make. Maybe by the time this issue is printed, they’ll have answered. More than likely, they won’t respond until you make them. You, the people of Akron, and you, the news media of Northeast Ohio. The ball is in your court. If you want the answers, you have to demand them. You can’t be satisfied by lame, incomplete responses.
A key could be one clause in the request for proposals (RFP) to outsource an online nursing program. That clause gives the university the right to extend the services of the winning proposal to outsource other classes and degrees. Worth potentially tens of millions of dollars, this RFP garnered just one proposal: Academic Partnerships. Just imagine an RFP for a construction project that allowed the university to grant the same extension to whatever company won the proposal. “Great job with the College of Education, let’s get you on that new promenade for the Corps of Cadets! No RFPs!” Nothing weird or worrisome about that, right? If former president Dr. Luis Proenza overbuilt, will Scarborough over-outsource? Outsource student success coaching to TrustNavigator. Outsource the RN-BSN program to Academic Partnerships. Outsource dining to Aramark. So how does that fit into his idea about what makes a great public university? How does it match yours? I’m still open to the possibility that there is a plan that makes sense and is good for both Akron and the university. I just want to know what it is. The “trust us” routine only goes so far, especially when the things that keep surfacing make it seem like they are not simply bad at communication—as the daily paper’s editorial board continues to suggest— but rather actively trying to conceal information.
Thank y’all, Chris
For example, all the university will tell me about how Rickel explained the significant errors he made on his application CV is that he apologized, they discussed it and now consider the matter closed. We aren’t talking about a couple of errant words but panels with radically different titles and topics listed at conferences that, in two cases, have no record of him even attending. After making promises to communicate better, they seem to be trying hard to keep from answering at all. That tells me to keep digging because I think you deserve to know why the administration isn’t concerned it’s paying a man nearly $300,000/year (with a $1500/month car allowance) when, at best, he can’t perform the attention to detail it takes to get his own resume right. But the questions around his vita are just part of the big picture what’s going on at Buchtel Hall. So the cover story this issue is an attempt to combine all the pieces of the puzzle—UA Press, EJ Thomas, baseball, the layoffs and all the VP hires from Toledo—we have so far to try seeing the big picture.
About the Cover
When photographer Shane Wynn saw what was happening with the protests outside the Board of Trustees meeting, she hopped in her car with her camera and started snapping photos. This one, of 3-year-old Jahara, was one of our favorite shots. There are more in the back of the issue. Thank you, Shane!
AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12 /
THE Devil Strip |
News n’ stuff, in case you missed it
The Lead : Summit Co. Dems to local GOP: ‘You’re racist’; Republicans: ‘No, you are!’ Mudslinging ain’t just for political campaigns anymore. After Republicans unveiled a new redistricting plan for Summit County Council, Democrats shot back that it would split the AfricanAmerican community. That’s according to a report by Cleveland.com’s John Harper who quoted local Democratic Party Chair Sandra Kurt saying, "Any time they are trying to say that they are making it
easier for minorities to get elected, they either do not understand minority population and where they live or they don't know how to add." Dems then introduced their own redistricting proposal, which is to keep everything the same until there’s another Census, which is when districts typically get redrawn.
That’s when local GOP Chair Bryan Williams responded, "These (current) districts are already drawn so that only one County Council person is black. We are creating two predominantly minority districts, how is that splitting the AfricanAmerican vote?"
breakdown of the new proposal, which would create three distinct suburban voting areas, pit four sitting council members against each other and give Republicans in the ‘burbs more representation.
Harper’s August 11 story includes an excellent
depict the cute, wee greens I imagined when I read the word. Byard promises a follow-up, which should be pretty cool. In the meantime, she says you can catch PlantScription at the Countryside Conservancy farmers’ market in Howe Meadow on Saturdays.
Then there were two: Akron Mayor’s race loses a horse Frank Comunale has joined Tom Sawyer—the Ohio State Senator, not the fictional character—on the sidelines of the first Akron mayor’s race in nearly 30 years that can’t be won by a guy named Don Plusquellic. This makes September 8’s primary a two-horse race between Summit County Clerk of Courts Dan Horrigan and Mike Williams, who has been an Akron City Councilman for 28 years. Republican Eddie Sipplen, an attorney, has an uphill climb against anyone coming out of the Democratic primary because Akron hasn’t voted a Republican into that office since 1980.
desks when the adult world has acknowledged the benefits of standing desks? The incomparable Kat Wheels (aka – Katie Wheeler, writer-at-large) profiled Daphne Fecheyr-Lippens, a bio-mimicry fellow at the University of Akron, in July and we think you'll be impressed with their Big Idea (bit. ly/akjaswig). Or, you could skip us altogether and just put some greenbacks behind this idea at their Kickstarter (bit.ly/jaswigkick).
Knight hosting live FAQ for Arts Challenge in series of community sessions The Knight Arts Challenge for Akron has launched (runs through September 14) and the good folks with the foundation want to make sure you have everything you need to submit a killer idea (or 12) for a slice of the $1 million grant pie. As such, they’re hosting three (free) Q&A sessions from August 24-26, each starting at 5:30 pm. On August 24, they’ll be at Akron Urban League (440 Vernon Odom Blvd.); August 25 at the Highland Square Mustard Seed (867 W. Market St.); and August 26 at the Akron Art Museum (1 S. High St). For details about the matching grant challenge, visit knightfoundation.org/knight-arts-challenge/akron
Culture Club: Akron mayoral candidates wooing artist-types The newly restructured Summit Artspace, led by Joanne M. Green, is partnering with the newly invented ArtsNow, led by Nicole Mullet, for an arts and culture-specific forum with the men running to become Akron’s next mayor. (OMG! Just came up with a great idea for a reality TV show!) Moderated by art lover Brenda Cummins, the forum is on Monday, August 31 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Artspace (140 E. Market St., Akron). Candidates will field questions submitted online (and in person) by “interested community members” through the event page, which can be found at bit.ly/artsforum
Just because I wanted to type the word ‘microgreens’
Jaswig, the local Kickstarter project that hates sitting around
‘TechHire City’ isn’t as catchy as ‘Rubber City’ but that $6 million grant sounds nice
One of the coolest ideas we've covered in our brief existence is Jaswig, an idea born out of a great question: Why do we make kids in school sit at
It’s not (yet) a video game but “TechHire City” were to become one, that might be developed in Akron, which was recently named a “TechHire City” by the
White House. Confused? Well, as WAKR’s Amani Abraham reports, this designation could lead to a $6 million grant from the Department of Labor to help provide the training and assistance to put 400 people into local tech jobs by the end of next year. Summit Workforce Solutions, which coordinated the designation effort, will lead the initiative. For details from the White House, visit whitehouse.gov/ issues/technology/techhire
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Another Knight-related, Mustard Seed-hosted community event "Up for Debate," a Knight-funded project out of Minnesota, wants to know more about what makes Akronites under age 35 vote so they’re hosting forums (FREE FOOD & DRINK!) where they'll discuss the recent mayoral debates, assess what the candidates are saying and how the media is covering the race. It'll be "relatively informal" (i.e. - the "dress casual" of conversation) and will feature "some exercises to get conversation going," which may or may not involve Tae Bo and/or P90X. Get details at jefferson-center.org/ akron or just show up Friday, August 21 from 6pm to 8:30pm at Mustard Seed Market & Café in Highland Square, or on Saturday, August 22 from 11am to 1:30pm at the Akron-Summit County Public Library in North Hill.
In her August 18 column for the Akron Beacon Journal, Katie Byard posted about a cool local company founded by Jacob Craine and Vincent Peterson called PlantScription, which grows and sells “microgreens.” Their website (mkt.com/ plantscription) features pictures that perfectly
presents ROCK THE LOCK FRIDAYS FREE ADMISSION
BAD TO THE BONE
with Long Tall Deb
& The Werewolves featuring Colin John
as George Thorogood with
The Whiskey Kings
performs Pink Floyd with The Moxies
MOTOWN SOUNDS OF TOUCH with Relatively
‘People Places Things’
Tickets sold at gate only.
Win A VIP Package!
Register at Any Akron Area
A Tribute to the Eagles with Twistoffs FREE ADMISSION
AUG 19 Horns and Things AUG 26 The Stingers Lock 4 is located off of Bowery St., SEPT 2 Blue Lunch behind the Civic Theatre, next to Concerts start at 7 pm
Lock 3. Admission is free. Bring your lawn chair. Free parking.
Tramonte Distributing Co.
Opens August 21 at Nightlight Cinema ($8.50) 30 N High St, Akron Breezy and warm, James C. Strouse’s comedy combines levity and honesty as it explores life after a major breakup. A year after graphic novelist Will finds his wife with another man, he begins teaching cartooning and becomes involved in the life of one of his students and her mother. Strouse utilizes the colorful background of New York City, composer Mark Orton’s score, and Will’s heavily featured illustrations to create a pleasant and airy feel upon which the film expertly soars.
In a Forest, Dark and Deep Opens August 28 at None Too Fragile ($20) 1841 Merriman Rd, Akron Provocative playwright Neil LaBute brings brother and sister, Bobby and Betty, together on a stormy night at a remote cabin, where Betty is cleaning out a tenant's effects before the place can be rented again. LeBute ushers this modern-day Hansel and Gretel into the dark center of the forest, a masterful dance between characters who share a history but not the same values, the scars of youth exposed as the younger brother demands a quality of honesty that Betty, a practiced liar, energetically resists.
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
Jammin Blues Band
Through August 20 at Nightlight Cinema ($8.50) 30 N High St, Akron A once-in-a-generation talent, Amy Winehouse instantly captured the world's attention. Tragically, relentless media attention coupled with Amy’s troubled relationships, her global success and precarious lifestyle saw her life fall apart. As a society, we celebrated her huge successes but were quick to judge her failings when it suited us. The talent that was initially her salvation eventually became the trigger for her disintegration.
What’s your best idea for the arts? We want to hear it! This summer, the Knight Arts Challenge is offering a share of $1 million to the best arts ideas for Akron. Attend a Community Q&A session Aug. 24-26. Then submit your idea by Sept. 14 at KnightArts.org.
Photo courtesy of Downtown Akron Partnership
Gates open at 6 pm | Concerts start at 7 pm
Out of the Archives
‘DEVO ON THE STREETS OF DOWNTOWN AKRON’ ‘MARK MOTHERSBAUGH: MYOPIA’ COMING IN SPRING 2016 by Dominic Caruso
A few days ago, a life-size reproduction of Janet Macoska’s iconic photograph, “Devo on the Streets of Downtown Akron,” April 10, 1978, was installed near the spot where it was taken nearly 40 years ago, thanks to the City of Akron and the Akron Civic Committee. Macoska has photographed rock and roll royalty since 1974, and her photographs (including the one of Devo) are in the collections of the Akron Art Museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and The National Portrait Gallery in London. On Thursday, August 20 at 6:30 pm she’ll present a talk about her work at the Akron Art Museum. Admission is free. “Devo on the Streets of Downtown Akron” succinctly reveals a lot about Akron in 1978, while also speaking to the creativity of the band, and the enduring artistry of Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh. In view is just a small portion of Akron—the point of origin for the satirical, mutated musical creations of Devo—yet it seems characteristic of the city, a place battling to make something new out of what was left. The uneasy combination of elements composing the storefront
of the diner, Chili Dog Mac, reveals a sensibility that Devo wove into their own uniquely off-kilter worldview. The same whimsical, yet alarmingly out of balance typography from the diner’s windows was reproduced in the artwork of Devo’s early albums. The lettering on the marquee wavers between two worlds, a cyborg composed of a mixture of primitive, pixel-like block letters and organic, handmade-looking letterforms. Even the name of the place, Chili Dog Mac, is a mutated combination. The members of the band appear in their signature hazmat suits, and with the exception of Mark Mothersbaugh, each wears industrial-looking sunglasses with darkened squares for lenses. In the center, Mark Mothersbaugh smiles slightly, holding an altered guitar from which dangle numerous thick wires. There’s something about Akron and cities like it—cities with industrial pasts, a certain amount of post-industrial hardship, and maybe blanketed in a preponderance of gloomy days as well—that seem
to embody the right conditions to produce a rich and weird arts scene. Of course, key to that kind of scene is a diverse mix of creative people, reaching out to one another horizontally to create a support system, allowing community members to experiment, explore and innovate new cultural creations.
Janet Macoska, Devo on the Streets of Downtown Akron, April 10, 1978. Gelatin silver print. 12 1/2 in. x 18 3/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the artist.
I suspect that this is the kind of community that was formed in the 1970s in Akron with Devo and other local bands like Tin Huey, Chi Pig and the Rubber City Rebels. However, it’s not nostalgia that I’m talking about. I’m talking about how cultural innovation happens. It can take place in a community of creative individuals who support one another, and it can take place on a larger scale, between organizations. In this way, the collaborative efforts between numerous community partners and the Akron Art Museum have made Inside|Out a reality in 2015. We believe Inside|Out is just the beginning of those cooperative relationships. In September
a partnership with the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation will allow the art museum to exhibit some of the treasures of its collection at Transformer Station in Ohio City in “Choice: Contemporary Art from the Akron Art Museum.” In spring 2016, MOCA Cleveland and the Akron Art Museum will present a shared exhibition of “Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia,” with each venue featuring complimentary aspects of Mothersbaugh’s prolific art-making career. These cooperative projects have arisen from the knowledge that, by working together to create a more vibrant cultural ecosystem in the region, we can expand opportunities for education and innovation, enrich the quality of life in Akron, attract and retain talented community members, and enhance economic development.
e r u t l u C & s t r A
s g n i t s i L t n Eve
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20
Thursday Night on the Block 6:30pm at Temple Square (FREE) 766 N Main St, Akron Join the North HIll community each Thursday night in the Temple Square Plaza for performances, food, games, and fun. If you have a talent you would like to share such as music, dance, stand up comedy, story telling... there will be an open mic. We will also have vendors, ping pong, and so much more!
Artist Talk: Janet Macoska 6:30pm at Akron Art Museum (FREE) 1 S High St, Akron If rock and roll has been the soundtrack of your life, photojournalist Janet Macoska has provided the visuals. Since 1974, Janet Macoska has been
| THE Devil Strip / AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12
capturing rock's greatest on film. Macoska is the artist behind the "Chili Dog Mac" photograph of rock band Devo that will soon be a permanent downtown art installation.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21
Twilight & Flashlights 7pm at Stan Hywet ($12 members; $16 nonmembers) 714 N Portage Path, Akron Enjoy at a special evening at Stan Hywet as they light up Bloom!, glass sculptures by Craig Mitchell Smith, as the sun sets over the Estate. Stroll the gardens and enjoy a radiant evening including 32 glass art pieces by artist Craig Mitchell Smith, selfguided tours of the first floor of the Manor House and live acoustic music.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 22
art-A-palooza 10am at Boettler Park (FREE) 5300 Massillon Rd, North Canton Celebrate the arts in Green at the 11th annual art-
The agenda A-palooza at the Boettler Park pond! The festival includes a wide variety of art, entertainment, food, and a children's activity area! Performer’s Tool Box: Porch Rokr Workshop 10am at None Too Fragile Theater (FREE) 1841 Merriman Rd, Akron Wandering Aesthetics is partnering with the Highland Square Neighborhood Association and Porch Rokr to offer workshops for performers! They offer a way for performers – of all experience levels – to enhance their onstage presence, work through stage fright, brush up on invaluable performances skills and practice in front of an audience. Point of No Return Improv 7:30pm at Quirk Cultural Center ($5) 1201 Grant St, Cuyahoga Falls PNR performs short-form improvisational comedy. They ask for a suggestion from the audience and then invent a scene that is somehow inspired by that suggestion - it’s comedy at your direction, and whatever happens, it’s sure to be hilarious! Grandma Jeans Dream Team: Alzheimer’s Benefit Show 3pm at Friendship Acres Bar Down Under ($10) 2210 OH-44, Atwater When Crystal’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago, she started Grandma Jeans Dream Team to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. Don’t miss this year’s benefit show, featuring The Scenic Route, plus a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction and more! All proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association.
nightclub at the edge of the galaxy, in a world where vinyl, plastic, and other exotic fabrics have been outlawed.But something is amiss at Saucy Jack’s, when one after another, the club’s performers turn up dead — murdered with a slingback stiletto-heeled pump — just as they were on the verge of greatness. Who will be next? The proceeds from this special, one-night only performance of the wacky science ficition musical benefit CANAPI.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27
‘Everybody Street’ 7pm at Akron Art Museum (FREE) 1 S High St, Akron ‘Everybody Street’ illuminates the lives and work of iconic New York street photographers and the incomparable city that has inspired them for decades. The documentary pays tribute to the spirit of street photography and captures the visceral rush, singular perseverance and, at times, immediate danger customary for these artists. The film includes Joel Meyerowitz and Mary Ellen Mark, whose work is featured in the exhibition, Proof.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 29
PorchRokr 10am at Highland Square (FREE) Merriman Rd, Akron Highland Square’s coolest festival returns for its 4th year with 100 bands, plus tons of vendors, food, a beer garden, kids’ activities and more!
SUNDAY, AUGUST 30
The Open Door: Akron’s Performance Exchange 6pm at Lifesource Yoga ($5 suggested donation) 300 N Cleveland-Massillon Rd, Suite 2, Akron Come join in the fun in a raucous #OpenDoorAkron workshop in improvisation led by experienced improvisor Matthew Dolan. Explore different styles and techniques of making things up on the spot and how to look brilliant doing so! Newcomers and experienced performers alike will learn new techniques and see how fun and games can be turned into valuable lessons for everyday life. Cure for the Blu’s 11:30pm at BLU Jazz+ ($7) 47 E Market St, Akron BLU presents a new late-night comedy series, featuring the very best in local, regional and national talent! Every Saturday at 11:30pm, and get a discount if you purchase tickets in combination with a concert.
MONDAY, AUGUST 24
Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens 7:30pm at Weathervane Theater ($22) 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron Welcome to Saucy Jack’s cosmic cabaret — a
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
TUESDAY, SEPT 1
Fall Hiking Spree September through November Summit Metro Parks (FREE) An Akron tradition for more than 50 years, don’t miss the Summit Metro Park’s annual Fall Hiking Spree! Hike at least eight designated trails between September 1 and November 30 and earn a hiking staff (if it’s your first year) and shield.
Porch Rokr Preview THERE’S MORE THAN MUSIC TO ENJOY AT THE 2015 PORCH ROKR
Performer’s Toolbox (FREE) ‘From Vamping to Banter: Improv for the Unexpected’ Hosted by Highland Square Porch Rokr Festival Saturday, August 22 from 10 AM – 12 PM None Too Fragile Theater (at Pub Bricco) 1841 Merriman Rd., Akron The second annual collaboration between Wandering Aesthetics and Highland Square Neighborhood Association closes out on August 22 with its fourth in the “Performer’s Toolbox” workshop series.It’s a way for performers – of all experience levels – to enhance their onstage presence, work through stage fright, brush up on invaluable performances skills and practice in front of an audience. For more information, email email@example.com, call instructor Kyle Jozsa at 330.612.3090 or visit tinyurl.com/ Toolbox2015
‘History of Akron Rock’ Free Film Showing: ‘If You’re Not Dead, Play!!’ Free Akron Outdoor Movies, in collaboration with The Highland Square Porch Rokr Festival, is proud to announce a free showing of the documentary “If You’re Not Dead, Play!!” The movie will be shown the evening before Porch Rokr– Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 at 8:30 p.m. – on the lawn next to Akron Digital Academy. (The Akron Digital Academy is located in the former Temple Israel building at 133 Merriman Road, Akron.) This is a free event and open to the public. Created by University of Akron documentary maker Phil Hoffman, “If You’re Not Dead, Play!!” is a new production for Western Reserve PBS and a sequel to “It’s Everything and Then It’s Gone,” Hoffman’s documentary that chronicled the rise of Akron rock legends like Devo and The Waitresses.
the second wave of Akron “garage bands” that continued in the tradition of “the Akron sound” that began with bands like Devo, Tin Huey and The Waitresses. In the wake of this first wave of rock bands, whose story Hoffman told in “It’s Everything and Then It’s Gone,” a second group of bands formed and took over an old dilapidated bank in downtown Akron, which they dubbed The Bank. Soon, bands such as Unit 5, Chi Pig and Hammer Damage were drawing larger crowds than the original bands ever did. It looked like the road to rock stardom would run right down Akron’s Main Street. The story is told through interviews with musicians involved in the movement, including former band members from Unit 5, Chi Pig and The Diffi-Cult. Also featured is insight from Chuck Klosterman, a senior writer for Spin Magazine and former Akron Beacon Journal rock critic. Beacon Journal columnist David Giffels, author of “Are We Not Men?” provides background on the era. Hoffman uses a variety of media to tell his story, including archival video footage from The Bank, never-released audio recordings that have not been heard in over 20 years, newspaper articles and other memorabilia. “What most surprised me as I created the documentary is that I’ve become an advocate for ‘rock-as-art,'” mused Hoffman. “The average person who considers rock ‘n’ roll only looks at the musical part. These bands were dedicated to it as performance art – as theater – and I have come to appreciate the full artistry of their work. For more information visit tinyurl. com/PorchRokrMovie or email FreeAkronOutdoorMovies@gmail.com. // Originally published by The Akronist at akronist.com
Stray Dog Cart will have food and beverage available for purchase beginning at 7:30 p.m. and residents are encouraged to walk, ride their bikes or drive over to join the movie and be prepared to dress for the weather. Bringing chair or blankets also is recommended. “If You’re Not Dead, Play!!” documents
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THE Devil Strip |
Hike & Picnic
Blue Hen Falls and Backup Plan Burritos by M. Sophie Hamad
lue Hen Falls is an epic cascade of spring-fed water that falls over a wall of layered shale. The creek—Spring Creek—is arguably the clearest water around and is well worth the halfhour drive from Akron. So, on a hot day, instead of wading through the clouds of cigarette smoke at Monroe Falls Metropark, or dunking into a cool but chlorinated local swimming pool, one Akronite might consider a trip to Blue Hen. Only, instead of taking the trail to the falls, one could follow the stream instead, especially since the trail is currently almost entirely washed out at one spot.
That is exactly what we did one mild summer day. My husband, E.J., our sons Indigo and Che, and I met our friend Dana Starvaggi and her dog Yahzie at the Blue Hen parking area with a bag of burritos. We had intended to order carryout for our picnic from The Blue Door, a slow-foods restaurant on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls. The food there is delicious and good for the environmental conscience. Unfortunately, they were closed for summer vacation. Stumped, and unprepared for a change of plans (Dana was already en route to Blue Hen Falls), we saw a sign for Chipotle and decided that was the next best option. After all, Chipotle also uses local seasonal ingredients when available, and now all their animal products are free of hormones and antibiotics. And their burritos come conveniently wrapped in foil—perfect for a picnic. We packed them along with some water and chips and guacamole into a canvas bag and headed for the Blue Hen Falls trailhead.
with the view over the falls is hypnotizing. I didn’t want to leave the spot, but my sons were getting a little too close to the top of the falls for my comfort. We were all ready for lunch, so we began our search for a picnic spot suitable for five. It had been a long time since my last trip to Blue Hen, so I’d forgotten that there isn’t really anywhere to sit at the actual falls, at least not room enough for five people to sit together, it was a little awkward trying to find a spot to feast. We found a big boulder with a beautiful view of the front of the cascade, and we all tried to squeeze onto it. It was ridiculous, but it worked. We devoured our gigantic burritos, tried as best as we could to clean up our remnants of rice and guacamole, and headed down over the bank of the creek to enjoy the view of the falls from the bottom. E.J. taught Indigo how to skip rocks, and I marveled at all the fallen trees from the most recent storms. We played until the mosquitos became intolerable, and then headed back toward our cars. As we walked the trail back, I made a mental note to bring the bug repellant next time.
Left from top to bottom: Waterfall on Spring Creek; Dana Starvaggi and Indigo Hamad rest on a fallen tree at Spring Creek. Below: Fallen trees at Blue Hen Falls (Photos courtesy of: M. Sophie Hamad/The Devil Strip)
We crossed the wooden bridge over the creek and walked the trail toward the first waterfall. We followed a little footpath down to the creek. Since Yahzie was along for the hike, we avoided getting too close to the waterfall, where a few other hikers were splashing around in the water with their own furry companion. Instead, we started downstream, following the creek and wading in pools along the way. The water was cool, but not frigid, and the rock-hopping was manageable even for Indigo, who is four years old. Water shoes are a must, however, unless you are okay with soggy shoes. There were several spots along the way where the only route was the wet route.
// M. Sophie Hamad is still recovering from the Chipotle-induced food coma.
Parking located at 2001 Boston Mills Road, Boston Township, 44236.
Walls of layered shale covered with moss and ferns border the creek all the way to Blue Hen Falls, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. There is a shale wall at the top of the big Blue Hen cascade which might make this the place most worthy of meditation in Northeast Ohio. Clear spring water drips out of the shale against a backdrop of vibrant green, and the sound it makes is reminiscent of the fountain in my massage therapist’s lobby. This sound, layered over the rushing sound of cascading water, combined
| THE Devil Strip / AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12
Most Interesting People We Know
and South Street Ministries by Noor Hindi
It’s 9:30 in the morning. A woman with tired eyes wanders into the room. The judge says, “Let’s start with a guy who could have been dead.” With bags under her eyes, the mother makes her way up to the bench, led by a young man wearing chained jeans and a button-up shirt. Her son graduates from drug court today. Tears fall from her eyes as she looks at Judge Thomas Teodosio and says, “I thought I’d have to identify his body one day. I can sleep now.” In his left hand, her son clutches an old photo of his face before beginning the Turning Point Program, which places drug offenders in a year-long treatment program instead of sending them to jail. When he lifts the photo up, silence overtakes the courtroom. The stark difference between the man he was and the one standing before the judge is impossible to ignore.
Street, which has established itself as a presence in an economically impoverished neighborhood, holding events and offering youth programs, church services, groups for the LGBT community, sports programs and jail ministry.
been indicted in Summit County for possession of heroin. It costs about $25,000 to lock someone up for a year while the National Institute on Drug Abuse puts the average annual cost of methadone maintenance treatment at $4,700 per patient.
One of the remarkable individuals at South Street— and there seem to be many—is Toni Code, who helps operate the re-entry program. Code has been sober for 10 years.
Re-entry programs chip away at those financial costs while bringing ex-offenders back into the community where they can contribute to the social good.
“I turned myself in (in) front of three judges at seven in the morning because I wanted to clean up everything in my life and so that means not only getting clean and staying clean, but having my record clean. I had to be clear with the judicial system,” Code says.
“Every member of our Turning Point team strives to make the program as successful as possible because statistics show that drug courts reduce crime, saves taxpayers money and restores families,” says Teodosio. “The Turning Point Program is the most rewarding part of my job. The reward most often is witnessing persons who are willing to do the hard work of recovery move from a life of addiction and crime to a law abiding productive life, or it might come with the reunification of a child with sober parents.”
But, as anyone who has cleaned up their life—or is trying to get there—will tell you, it’s not easy.
Through June 9, officials say 78 deaths in Summit County were caused by fentanyl and heroin overdoses. Considering those numbers, it’s no wonder this young man’s mother is so thankful. Like others in that courtroom, she understands Teodosio wasn’t exaggerating.
James Pollack, spokesman for the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office says an individual’s success depends on how badly they want to get sober. It may help knowing the alternative is jail—or worse, death—but ultimately, accountability belongs to the user.
At South Street, if you’re “half-stepping” then expect little compassion. It takes full-out effort to change a life.
Where Turning Point meets offenders once they’ve entered the legal system, South Street Ministries helps them after they’ve exited it. Founded by Lisa and Duane Crabbs, and located five minutes away from the Summit County Jail, South Street has been helping reestablish community members, drug offenders, and former inmates into the community since 1997. “I met Duane in the county jail eight or nine years ago. When I came back, I started coming to South Street and it helped my self-esteem because I was out of work for a while and it gave me a purpose,” says Thomas Jones, who is the head chef for Front Porch Café, which South Street runs. Crabbs went from putting out fires as a former firefighter to starting fires in the Summit Lake neighborhood as a pastor who has led South
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
“I know the streets and I know the stories,” says Code. “But I also know that what happened in your life in the last 20 years could be changed in one day, one decision. Your attitude is your life.” This sentiment is echoed in drug court, where Teodosio stresses time and time again that drug offenders must have a plan. Every week, he witnesses what happens to those who do: They graduate and turn their lives around. Each individual success is a win for the community too.
Teodosio reads them aloud: Lisa, Ryan, Josh, Michael, Robert, Shane, Wendy, Lisa, Richard, Matthew, Bruce, Elizabeth, Trevor, Jim, Zach… You lose track. On one side of the room, eight men in prison jumpsuits sit waiting, shackled to their chairs for nonviolent offences. Across from them, on the other side of that razor-thin line, a man with a kind smile. He’s six months sober now. Teodosio continues reading down his list of names.
For South Street, this work is done in the streets. “I learned how to move in the neighborhood and go to bars and walk the streets at night. We’ve learned how to be uncomfortable. I would do this at two in the morning when the only people around were partiers,” Crabbs says. The path from the streets to jail seems frighteningly short and runs straight through the courtroom, dividing the lives inside and invoking this passage from the Katha-Upanishad: "The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard." After two hours, the names begin to blur as
Approximately 1,700 Ohioans are sentenced to prison annually at an annual cost around $43 million. As of June 19, 225 people have
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THE Devil Strip |
SPUDS TAKE OVER DOWNTOWN AKRON AS GIANT DEVO PHOTO INSTALLED BY THE AKRON CIVIC THEATRE Janet Macoska's infamous 1978 "Chili Dog Mac" photo of Devo has been blown up and installed next to the Akron Civic Theatre where she originally snapped her shot. Tons of spuds--Devo-ese for fan--showed up for the unveiling where founding member Jerry Casale and photographer Macoska were special guests. The assembled were surprised with an unannounced Booji Boy parade. Afterwards, Casale went to the soon-to-be-gone West Point Market for a tasting of his vintage wine, The 50 by 50. (Photos courtesy of Roger Riddle, Christopher C Esker, and Christian Odadzin)
FOR RESIDENTS • FOR BUSINESSES • FOR GOVERNMENT
DAN HORRIGAN IS
Dan Horrigan has plans for Akron… and a proven record of results. Dan has ideas to better our great city - backed by his experience in leading and effecting change in our community. See Dan’s 15-Point Platform and Civility Plan at HorriganForMayor.com
Dan wants to operate Akron’s city government using guiding principles of Civility, Transparency, Competency, Inclusion, Collaboration and Growth.
As the current Summit County Clerk of Courts, Dan manages 86 employees and is responsible for collecting and distributing $120M public dollars each year. Since taking office, Dan has introduced online credit card payments and has doubled the county’s title business revenue from $2M to $4M.
He also implemented electronic filing for courts (General Division and Domestic Relations), saving the county in operating costs. Dan’s leadership as a Ward 1 Councilman resulted in Akron’s first Dog Park, new ballfields at Patterson Park, and the completion of the Towpath at the Memorial Parkway trailhead. I love Akron, I want to be your Mayor, and I respectfully ask for your vote!
ENDORSED BY LOCAL LEADERS, TEACHERS AND LABOR: Russ Pry, Summit County Executive
Tom Sawyer, State Senator
Akron Education Association (AEA)
See the full list at HorriganForMayor.com
Tri-County Regional Labor Council, AFL-CIO
LET’S MOVE AKRON FORWARD… TOGETHER! Paid for by: Dan Horrigan, Committee Jenee Valle, Treasurer, 425 Sackett Avenue, Akron, OH 44313
| THE Devil Strip / AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12
A Day in the Life of…
RubberDucks GM Jim Pfander
by Sean Beck
GIG: General Manager/COO of the Akron RubberDucks FAVORITE FOOD: Papa Joe’s Lasagna FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Last Comic Standing” is a favorite but I spend most of my time watching The Disney Channel with my two girls. YOUR PETS ARE… “We have a 10-year-old male cat named Macy (long story).” BEST THING ABOUT AKRON THAT HASN'T CHANGED SINCE YOU LEFT IN 1996: “Swenson’s and the genuine friendliness of everyone who lives here.” BEST "NEW" THING ABOUT AKRON YOU'VE DISCOVERED SINCE RETURNING: “The Metroparks. As a kid, I took them for granted but after living all over the country, it’s amazing to have such a beautiful park system to enjoy.” FAVORITE AKRON-CENTRIC ACTIVITY GROWING UP: “The Rib, White & Blue Festival. I can remember meeting my mom downtown for lunch each year during the festival and sampling the different types of ribs & BBQ.” THE ONE THING PEOPLE PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME IS: “When I lived in Charleston, I appeared as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune during a taping for ‘Vanna Comes Home Week’ in 2007.” FIRST FAVORITE BASEBALL EXPERIENCE: “I interned at Fox 8 in college under sports producer (and current 91.3 The Summit GM) Tommy Bruno. I got the chance to interview Sandy Alomar in the dugout before a game at then-Jacobs Field. After the interview, sports director John Telich told me that he thought I would make a great GM one day.”
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
he first thing I notice about Jim Pfander as he greets me in the front area of the Akron RubberDucks’ Main Street offices at Canal Park is how upbeat he is. I’ll soon discover as our day progresses that this positive energy is shared by everyone in the building. After a tour of the office area and a few introductions to friendly, enthusiastic staffers like Office Manager Missy Dies, we head to The Game Grill + Bar where we’re greeted with a smile by the restaurant’s General Manager, Chris Meyer (I’m beginning to see a pattern here). Over a couple of delicious wraps, Jim and I begin to discuss the many hats he wears in his duties as the Indians AA affiliate’s General Manager. “If you think of a baseball field and you think of the white lines on a baseball field, I’m in charge of everything on the outside of those white lines,” Pfander explains, “the Indians of course provide the players and are responsible for their development, training, coaching, etc. My job is the day-to-day operations of Canal Park: travel, marketing, sales, concessions, merchandise, community relations. I’m overseeing the restaurant. I’ll pull rain tarps and help out the grounds crew. I’m down on the field launching T-shirts into the crowd. Everything that you can think of that happens outside of the baseball field is everything that we oversee and
we all wear a bunch of different hats at the minor league level. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention we have an incredible staff.” Today, Pfander’s duties reach beyond state lines. “I just got off a conference call. I was interviewing a GM candidate for a team that Ken (Babby, the RubberDucks’ Owner) bought in Jacksonville,” Pfander shares, noting that it won’t hinder Babby’s extensive commitment to his adopted Rubber City home. Since returning to the RubberDucks in 2013 (he had a brief stint under a previous ownership group in 2011), Pfander has overseen the rebranding of the team itself (formerly the Aeros since 1997) and a $6.1 million renovation of Canal Park that Babby personally funded. The three-year project includes a new scoreboard, a picnic area, The Game Grill + Bar, an outfield tiki bar, a club lounge for season ticket holders and special events, a completely remodeled & updated suite level and several murals throughout the park by local artist Mike Ayers. Since Babby bought the team, attendance has increased 27.7% and corporate partnerships have doubled. Pfander and his team of 30 RubberDucks employees collaborate on production of the stocked promotional schedules for which the club has
quickly become famous. Three popular attractions this season have been a tribute to the Richfield Coliseum with Larry Nance, a “Goonies” 30th Anniversary celebration featuring Corey Feldman’s two first pitch attempts, and a mini comic-con. Last year, they had lines waiting at the gates for bobbleheads of homegrown rock icons like The Black Keys, Chrissie Hynde, Devo and Joe Walsh. “Our focus is to have promotions that have wide generational appeal and also attract fans who might not otherwise attend a minor league baseball game.” Pfander’s office is neatly decorated with seemingly every bobble-head the club has given away during his tenure. Opposite his desk is a huge whiteboard (actually an entire wall with special paint) with top secret and not-so-top secret notes on topics ranging from hotel arrangements to potential extreme food menu offerings. As I settle in with plastic likenesses of Bernie Kosar and Mike Hargrove staring back at me, we discuss Pfander’s personal history. This job might mean more to Pfander, who now resides in Fairlawn with his wife and two small daughters, than it would to the average baseball executive, since he was born and spent his entire childhood here. He grew up near Schneider Park, (continued on page 12)
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THE Devil Strip |
Hey, all you people, what’s the Big Idea with Porch Rokr, a music and art neighborhood festival in Highland Square that turn front porches into stages. Name: PorchRokr Age:
committee members range from 20 to 50+
Hometown/Home now: Akron area (Chapel Hill, Copley and Montrose, now Highland Square) Occupation:
many professions represented in the planning group
porchrokr.org and on Twitter @HSNAporchrokr
The Porch Rokr planning committee on the Mustill Store porch. (Photo: Svetla Morrison) WHAT’S YOUR BIG IDEA? “Highland Square Neighborhood Association and PorchRokr wants to connect people to their community through music, art and performance, spread along streets and avenues within Highland Square. We want to share and celebrate the talents and culture so abundant in our ‘squarea’ with the world.” WHY DO YOU PURSUE IT? “What drives us to do it is our passion for the place we choose to live and work. Highland Square is a true gem rich with characters that thrive in a
(continued from page 11) attended St. Vincent and St. Sebastian elementary schools and graduated from Archbishop Hoban High School. Even while attending Ohio University, he spent his summers in Akron, commuting to internships with Fox 8 and the internship with the Cleveland Indians that sent him on this journey. “I thought I wanted to be a broadcaster but after working for the Indians, I really fell in love with the event planning side of things and began to think, ‘Wow. They’re the ones who are in charge of making the ballpark come alive every night. Maybe I want to work for a team!’” Over more than a decade, Pfander’s baseball career took him to Spokane, WA (where he worked for a team owned by Royals’ great George Brett) to stops in Brockton, Massachusetts and Charleston, SC (working for legendary minor league owner & promoter Mike Veeck, son of former Indians owner Bill Veeck) to running the Tampa Bay Rays’ spring training in Port Charlotte, FL before winding back to Akron. As we tour the underground depths of Canal Park’s baseball operation, we’re greeted by players and manager Dave Wallace (again with the smiles). One
neighborhood that appreciates them. PorchRokr seems to have a life of its own and if we walked away, another outlet/fest/happening would spring up, without a doubt. There has been some kind of festival happening in the Square long before we got here and will continue for certain.” WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOUR BIG IDEA WAS A GOOD ONE? “We knew it immediately. When we organized the first PorchRokr, we didn't know what to expect. It looked really good on paper and in our heads, but to watch it unfold and grow into a really
organic and totally Highland Square event was breathtaking. We knew then that this would be the thing that we would focus our energies on. It really involves every aspect of the community from homeowners, residents, businesses and the artists and performers to pull it off. Without the participation of even one of those groups the whole thing unravels.”
other neighborhoods find their unique ‘thing’ to share and celebrate with us so we can connect and learn from what works in their areas. We expect to gain momentum in the coming years and hope to be able to have some hometown favorites come back and rock a porch or two and blow our minds.”
HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR BIG IDEA MAKES AKRON AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT BETTER? “In five or ten years, PorchRokr will have rounded the neighborhood twice. In that time, we hope that
thing you don’t fully notice from the stands is how huge these guys really are. Pfander introduces me to strength and conditioning coach Jake Sankal, who keeps the players on strict, personalized workout and diet plans. “I learned that one the hard way. I bought the whole team pizza early in my first year and got a call from the Indians the next day, Pfander admits. ‘Thanks for the pizza, Jim, but don’t do that again.’” We exit through the dugout as left fielder Bryson Myles stops to joke for a minute. As game-time approaches, I ask what’s next for the GM and his hometown team. “Really, more of the same: we want to continue to involve ourselves in the community and spread the message of affordable family fun. Next year, Akron is hosting the Eastern League All-Star Game for the first time ever in our 27-year history. As an organization and as an area, we really want to put our best foot forward and show all of our guests how special Akron really is. That’s our focus for 2016, but there’s always more to do.”
as Akron Mayor, mix it up with a rehabbing Nick Swisher in the batting cages, and be stopped in the stands by his childhood babysitter for an impromptu reunion.
In the meantime, Jim will escort Jeff Fusco to the field tonight in one of his first public appearances
Tomorrow, at a noon game, he’s filling in for the public address announcer.
“I don’t think many GMs do that.” // Sean Beck is trying something new. He played right field
| THE Devil Strip / AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12
for the WABL Ohio Gasket & Shim Reds in 1989.
‘'Mistakes were made'’ How this—giving up millions to TrustNavigator and Academic Partnerships, and the hiring of Dr. Todd Rickel and Dr. Lakeesha Ransom—aren’t mistakes but part of the plan by Chris Horne
he board meeting finally begins around 10:30 am, and university spokesman Wayne Hill kindly hands me a stack of papers, the board minutes, which I flip through as the ceremony begins. The Board of Trustees will not take questions from the public, nor will they directly address the protestors who’ve gathered in the back. This is a performance where the characters— the trustees, the president and his staff—address each other with words that seem intended more for an audience that isn’t in the room. The public at-large. This happens in almost every gathering of elected officials in the country; crafted and sometimes read soundbites fly for the benefit of the TV stations and newspapers they hope will be their megaphone.
since rehired two of the three. Deciding to eliminate the baseball program a month before actually telling the players, many of whom had signed year-long leases off-campus and then refusing to help them by reimbursing the families—not a mistake. No, those things had to be done. Only the communication about the rollout was a mistake. For that, they have apologized.
But the Board of Trustees for the University of Akron aren’t elected; they’re appointed by the Governor. They’re about as unknown and invisible as public figures can get. Still, they have a message they want you to hear: Mistakes were made.
However, they do not regret partnering with the untested, understaffed TrustNavigator at a cost of $843,000 to serve 4,200 incoming freshmen this year and then paying the company who-knowswhat the next year and beyond to keep it going.
Board chairman Jonathon Pavloff says the problem was that they—he’s inclusive, not pointing the finger at university president Scott Scarborough alone—failed to be as open in the implementation as they had been in the process of assembling their plan. (The Devil Strip has still not, at the time this was printed, received said plan despite repeated requests.) Before issuing an editorial with the “mistakes” motif for the daily paper, Pavloff continued the theme in the post-meeting presser. He stood next to Scarborough apologizing for the bad communication and pledging to be more open.
They don’t regret outsourcing an online nursing program to Academic Partnerships, which would ship back to Texas upwards of 70 percent of the tuition revenue it generates, which could be upwards of tens of millions of dollars for the RNBSN degree alone.
But when they say that “mistakes were made,” they aren’t referring to the elements that make up their plan. The specific budget cuts weren’t a mistake, nor were the 213 specific positions “abolished,” laying off 161 people. Cutting the staff of UA Press wasn’t a mistake, even if they’ve
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
Dr. Todd Rickel says he only made (multiple) “careless mistakes” on the CV he submitted with his application for the job he now holds. He regrets the error. And the university says it made a mistake, wrongly listing Rickel on the committee that reviewed the proposal by Academic Partnerships. They regret the error.
That’s because these were not mistakes. They are part of the plan, or so you’re left to assume in the absence of said plan. If this is indeed the case, then what does this plan mean for the university and for Akron? Looking at these four stories together may help us understand.
TrustNavigator >> “We’re not physically going to be able to hire enough competent people to fully populate where we want to get to for longer-term goals, but we’ll be able to introduce this concept at orientation,” Tom Roulston told InsideHigherEd.com, later adding, “…I don't want to sound cavalier about this, but we know what the hell we are doing.” IN A NUTSHELL: The University of Akron, which cut 54 positions in the Division of Student Success, issued an RFP to outsource “student success coaches,” then bypassed the company that’s worked with 1 million students to give the $843,000 contract to a company that had no clients and no background in higher education.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: • TrustNavigator plans to use their nonprofit status to sell tax-deductible marketing packages to corporations who want access to the students the University of Akron is paying them to coach. • Before the success coach RFP was issued, They don’t regret overlooking the objections voiced university officials met with TrustNavigator and by most members of the Honors College dean learned they had set up a student organization search committee to hire someone who jumped so the company could sell success coaching directly from a visiting professor position in Thailand services directly to students. to a brief stay at the Jesup Scott Honors College • Scarborough told WAKR the university was during Scarborough’s tenure in Toledo. emboldened by the above “to imagine how we They don’t regret hiring a “greatly respected leader in for-profit higher education” who makes almost $300,000 a year but at best lacks the attention to detail to correctly list his scholarly presentations on his CV.
could simply engage them (TrustNavigator) to provide this same service for all of our students, not just the students who could afford to pay for it.” The RFP reads as if the university, for no known reason, was anticipating a proposal from a company with zero experience: “It will be important for companies to demonstrate their success delivering such services in higher education settings if available. If not available, the company should demonstrate how it is predicted that such services will produce the desirable outcomes.” TrustNavigator’s proposal makes several references to working with budget limits, which are not present in the RFP. The university says it interviewed TrustNavigator and the only other competitor, InsideTrack, but officials at InsideTrack dispute that, saying they received no communication from the university except to notify them the bid was won by someone else. Success coaches will make around $28,000 a year and be responsible to 150-225 students, which the company itself describes as “a heavy workload and most probably stretching the limit of burnout risk.” As of August 7, TrustNavigator hadn’t hired or trained any success coaches, nor had they finalized a contract with the university, who refuses to make any further comment, saying, “The University is still in negotiations with the company, seeking to develop mutually agreeable contract terms, and we do not have any further information to offer at this time.”
The impetus for the RFP itself is a mystery. The document directs companies to the university’s retention plan, which doesn’t make any mention of success coaching. Dr. Stacey Moore told other media outlets launching the program has been a priority for Scarborough since he arrived a year ago.
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THE Devil Strip |
cover story Despite being a priority, the RFP was rushed out and, InsideTrack says, was only open eight days. A former intern described being wrongly presented to clients by TrustNavigator founder Tom Roulston as a “computer genius.” The same intern, who quit after going months without being pay, says he remembers Roulston first used the name “TrustNavigator” for a networking group for businesses, which died out when few showed up for a second meeting. The name was later used for an LLC that Roulston started in February 2007 as an investment adviser firm, but has since dissolved, establishing it as a nonprofit with two connected for-profit companies.
What this PlaCe neeDs is healthy fooD for eVeryone. United Way is a champion for healthy food for all in Summit County. We believe that nutritious food should be available to everyone, regardless of income. So we partner with many nonprofit organizations to promote equal access to healthy, high-quality food.
Join us at the table. Volunteer. If you have a passion for healthy food education, access and policy, connect with the United Way Volunteer Center to find ways to get involved with amazing programs and people in your community. Whether you have just one evening to help out a community garden, want to volunteer weekly at a farmers’ market or can spend some time in an office supporting a program, you can become a part of the solution.
Current volunteer opportunities: 1. Help with planting, weeding, watering and harvesting at an urban farm or community garden 2. Lend support to a weekly farmer’s market 3. Organize a healthy food drive 4. Deliver meals to seniors in their homes 5. Mentor kids on nutrition and exercise Many more projects are available! Contact the United Way Volunteer Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330.643.5512 for a complete list of opportunities or search our online volunteer project database at uwsummit.org. Under ‘Take Action,’ click the Volunteer link, and then the link for food-related opportunities. Nonprofits – contact the Volunteer Center to add your project.
beCause Great thinGs haPPen When We liVe uniteD. United Way of Summit County uWsuMMit.orG
For more detail and to see documents, visit bit.ly/ trustnavigator1 and bit.ly/trustnavpt2
Academic Partnerships >> “This
is a pilot project for Nursing at this time but the University reserves the right to expand this program into other disciplines and colleges or to transition it into a permanent program if the University feels it is in its best interest.” – excerpt from UA’s request for proposals for an online RN-to-BSN program
IN A NUTSHELL: On January 9, the university closed an RFP to create an online RN-to-BSN pilot program through the nursing program. The sole bidder was Academic Partnerships, a for-profit education company that builds online degree-granting programs with their own instructors and curriculum, which they then market under the name of their partner universities to students all over the globe. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: • This clause in the RFP seems to grant the winning proposal a potentially endless stream of unchallenged business: “This is a pilot project for Nursing at this time but the University reserves the right to expand this program into other disciplines and colleges or to transition it into a permanent program if the University feels it is in its best interest.” • The company was founded by Texas entrepreneur Randy Best, who landed large contracts for No Child Left Behind during George W. Bush’s administration. • Before running for President, Jeb Bush resigned his position as a paid adviser to Academic Partnerships, worth $60,000-a-year and a “small amount of stock.” • At DePaul University, where he would be suspended and from which he would later resign for unexplained reasons, Scarborough negotiated
the sale of Barat College’s “academic assets” to Higher Ed Holdings, another Randy Best company. • As the University of Toledo’s chief financial officer, Scarborough introduced officials to Academic Partnerships, which asked for 70 percent of tuition revenue to build and market two online master’s degree programs. • Faculty there killed the deal then Toledo built their program in-house. If Academic Partnerships gets 70 percent of the $8,940 tuition listed in the UA proposal and their enrollment figures mimic those for the same RN-BSN program they run at the University of Texas-Arlington (6,385 in 2012), that’s a deal worth upwards of $37.8 million a year to the company. The university would get around $17.2 million, plus the boost in enrollment and the state’s per-student contribution that goes along with it. Dr. Todd Rickel, who updated his curriculum vitae—the academic’s version of a resume—failed to include a panel there’s proof he did present: “Exploring New Frontiers in the Community College RN to BSN Megatrend.” In a July 31 letter from Scott Campbell, UA’s assistant general counsel and records compliance officer, Rickel was listed on the review committee for the RFP that Academic Partnerships won after it closed January 9. However, the Board of Trustees did not approve Rickel’s hiring until their February 11 meeting. He didn’t even give his job talk on campus until January 20. His start date was March 1. The university now claims he was mistakenly put on that list.
Dr. Todd Rickel >> “My
understanding is that these were just inconsequential changes to the title that were corrected,” President Scott Scarborough said after the August 12 Board of Trustees meeting, adding, “We concluded these were honest mistakes.”
IN A NUTSHELL: Dr. Rickel applied for his job as Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology using a curriculum vitae that featured three scholarly
Cover Story panels that didn’t exist and omitted work he lists on his LinkedIn profile, including CEO at Bluerock Partners Inc., senior adviser at RAZR Ventures, partner at Conservaco LLC and chairman of Rager Media.
Rickel says he made amounts to a half-sentence: “I apologize for the errors and am grateful for the opportunity to correct them on my CV.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: • President Scarborough, who called the wholesale changes on Dr. Rickel’s CV “inconsequential,” says the administration is satisfied with the explanation they were given about Rickel’s “careless mistakes.” • The university refuses to divulge what Rickel shared with Provost Mike Sherman to explain how someone hired to be a vice provost and dean could lack the attention to detail it takes to get his resume right. • The vast bulk of Rickel’s professional career has been in the for-profit education business, working for companies that have failed (Anthem College), are failing (University of Phoenix), are controversial (White Hat Management) and curious (EFA Education LLC). • The previous dean, Stan Silverman, was paid $185,968 a year, while his replacement, Rickel, makes $295,000 a year and gets a $1500 monthly car stipend. • Rickel, who lists work as an EMT, resident hall director and substitute teacher on his CV, became an Eagle Scout in 1986.
For more details, documents and images, visit bit.ly/ drtoddrickel and bit.ly/ rickelresponds
After the original story was posted online, Provost Sherman issued this statement, “While the discrepancies in Dr. Rickel’s curriculum vitae were unfortunate, it was determined that they were not made intentionally with a purpose to gain an advantage or otherwise present a false representation of his credentials. The administration believes the clarifying information provided by Dr. Rickel with respect to the discrepancies offered a satisfactory explanation.” The university will not say what that “clarifying information” is or how it provided a “satisfactory explanation.” To be clear, the “title errors,” as President Scarborough has called them, are not a few misplaced words or misspellings, but different in topic and focus, including totally difference conferences. Side-by-side, they are as follows: • “The Sustainable University” was changed to “Partnering Without Tears: Co‐Sourcing for Student Success and Mutual Profit” • “Technology, Retention and Sustainability in Practice” was changed to “Beyond Facebook: Creating the NextGen Social Media Communities of the 21st Century” • “Higher Education Partnerships: Mutual benefits across two and four year institutions” was changed to “Community College Baccalaureate Degree Inflation: Careful What You Wish For.” In the latter example, he listed “Higher Education Partnerships” as having happened at the 2012 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) annual convention but AACC officials have no record of his attendance, let alone a panel of that name. The updated version lists “Careful What You Wish For” at the 2012 Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA) conference where he also presented on another panel, which he failed to add to his vita. In an email released by the university, the apology
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“One candidate fell out of the top five and Ransom fell on,” Liszka says.
Dr. Lakeesha Ransom >> “Ms. Ransom worked with a consulting firm before she was hired by UT in February, 2013, as part of an effort championed by Mr. Scarborough to rebrand and expand Toledo’s honors program.” — Toledo Blade, in a report made at the time of her Akron hiring IN A NUTSHELL: Despite being voted “unacceptable” as a candidate by six of the 11 voting members of a search committee, Dr. Lakeesha Ransom was picked by President Scarborough to take over UA’s Honors College from Dr. Dale Mugler, who began his postinterview evaluation of her with “This candidate is not a good fit for the Honors College.” WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: • Before being hired at Toledo where Scarborough was Provost, Ransom was working in Thailand as a marketing consultant and a visiting professor. • The Board of Trustees approved a compensation package for Ransom almost $98,000 higher than her predecessor, a patent-holding researcher who founded the Honors College. • Vice Provost Dr. Rex Ramsier told the committee Scarborough did not want the final candidates ranked then allegedly went on “an angry rant.” •- Committee member say Paul Herold, Scarborough’s special assistant, told them the president didn’t want a ranking because he didn’t want one of the unselected candidates to request the public documents and discover they were ranked higher by the committee than the candidate chosen by Scarborough. • Ransom did not submit a cover letter with her application. • The search committee didn’t meet from midDecember 2014 until April 2015. Dr. Kathy Liszka was the only faculty member willing to use her name on the record, but her story was confirmed by multiple members of the search committee, as well as through documents and emails released from the university. The committee members that spoke with The Devil Strip each independently said Ransom was not in most of their individual top ten lists and didn’t make the collective’s top five on the first pass. That changed when Ramsier looked at his pad and said something like, “Oh, I tallied that wrong.”
Then, she moved up to the #4 spot but they were only inviting the top three choices and on second look, Ramsier noted the third candidate was out of the country, which made it too unlikely they could bring that one to Akron the following week. That’s when Ransom received an invitation to do a job talk, which she delivered on May 7. On May 13, as members of the committee fired off suggestions for ways to summarize their discussion about the three candidates, Herold sent Clark his own version of the summary and suggested she “accept all changes so my name is not attached. I think that anything coming from the president’s office is seen as offensive by some of our faculty colleagues.” Herold’s version and the final version seem nearly identical, which makes sense after Clark responded that his idea was “wonderful and a good approach, especially considering the
today.” Clark included that document and a summary of some evaluations—all without attribution—in an email to Scarborough, noting it would be helpful for their conversation later that day. University spokesman Wayne Hill told The Devil Strip that Clark made her presentation verbally. Unlike the committees that led to the hiring of Todd Rickel and Larry Burns, VP of Advancement, the Honors College dean’s committee didn’t submit a strengths/weaknesses matrix or a final report to the president. No matter. By June 3, Scarborough had sent the committee an email announcing his choice and thanking them for their time, which many felt had been wasted in a sham.
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AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12 /
THE Devil Strip |
film and feast ENJOY THE
Burntwood Tavern ‘NOW and THEN’ by Chris Kessinger, The Film Freak
FILM: Now and Then (1995) Stars: Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith, Rosie O'Donnell, Rita Wilson Four lifelong friends look back on a summer long ago in this coming-of-age tale of the friendships we never forget. Author Samantha Albertson (Demi Moore), actress Tina Tercell (Melanie Griffith), gynecologist Roberta Martin (Rosie O'Donnell), and housewife Christina DeWitt (Rita Wilson) are childhood friends who get together for the first time in years when Christina is about to have a baby. Seeing the old gang sends Samantha down memory lane as she recalls the summer of 1970, when the girls were just 12-years-old.
NUEVO MODERN MEXICAN & TEQUILA BAR
RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED FOR SEATING BUT ADVENTURESOME TASTE BUDS REQUIRED FOR DINING
"My first visit to Nuevo was AMAZING!! I was blown away with our very knowledgeable and attentive bartender. Going into this dinner I would never order tequila (except in a margarita), I was glancing at the tequila list when Eric (our great bartender) stopped by to walk us through aging, and tasting notes on some of his favorite tequilas. He was so passionate about these tequilas I agreed to try some. He poured a couple tasters of his favorite tequilas for my friends and I, and I couldn't believe how delicious they were... ...Now it was time to order dinner and again we went with his favs. I got scallops while my friends got tacos with shrimp, and a burrito with chorizo and pears! Everything was right on. This is not your typical Mexican restaurant (not that there's anything wrong with them) but the food here definitely had a lot of time and thought put into it. All in all everything was great! I will be back!" - Danielle S. in Akron, OH on July 15, 2015
54 East Mill St. Akron 44308 (330) 762-8000 nuevomodmex.com Hours: M-Th 11-10, F 11-11, Sat 3-11
We can all relate to a time when life was easier and friendships seemed to last forever. What I love about Now and Then is its ability to give us two films working together simultaneously. While it is narratively being told from the point of view of several adult women in present day, it's mostly acted out in the 70's, when these girls were on the edge of adolescence. Whether you are male or female, you can appreciate something in this movie. Director Lesli Glatter is attune to the issues affecting adolescents, and her script will have audience members reflecting on their past adventures. There is also a "Wonder Years" feel to the film set: the houses are new and colorful, and everything looks a lot cleaner, in an almost Pleasantville kind of way. The film also holds some surprises as the script mature alongside the four female leads. The movie begins as a bit of childish comedy, complete with tongue-in-cheek jokes. But the film's end highlights a heartfelt epiphany that these four friends really are the best part of each other’s lives. A film like this really shouldn't appeal to me, especially given my tastes in films, but the 70's soundtrack, complete with dream pop sounds, gives the film
the irresistible magic of a campfire tale. Glatter's script might be called the female version of the 1986 classic, Stand By Me, but it never feels like it's stepping on any toes creatively. If you’re seeking a cult film that appeals to many types of viewers, Now and Then will serve as a welcome reminder to young and old.
FEAST : Burntwood Tavern If you seek a one of a kind Summit County dining experience, complete with luxurious tastes at affordable prices, check out Cuyahoga Falls’s crown jewel, The Burntwood Tavern. The building was originally built in 1914 and served as the powerhouse building for the Cuyahoga River Dam. The restaurant took over the building in 2010 and has since gained a reputation for its nourishing foods with a breathtaking view overlooking the river below. This place has many tastes for every meal of the day, from signature steak to rich-tasting appetizers that are above and beyond just another meal starter. This place has stress-free dining down to a tee, and it all starts at the door with their convenient valet parking. Film Freak Suggestion - I could easily craft a menu for all three meals of the day. For breakfast, check out the Breakfast Burrito: three eggs, bacon, hash browns, black beans, avocado, queso fresco & sriracha aioli complete an early bird's dream to get the day started right. Complete the deal with a Bloody Mary serve-it-yourself bar. For lunch, start off with a side of Tavern Tator Tots (think Hush Puppies meet Hash Browns), and you have the beginnings of an edible paradise. Order the Tavern Dip, a prime rib, au jus, complete with swiss cheese and horseradish sauce. For dinner, there is only one choice for this taste critic: Asiago Crusted Chicken: delicious crispy potatoes, spinach & fresh arugula tossed with house vinaigrette & topped with marinated tomatoes. // Chris Kessinger is the resident film reviewer for The Devil Strip. You can find his latest reviews at thefilmfreak.com
The Burntwood Tavern 2291 Riverfront Parkway Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44221
A Siren Song for Seafood by Holly Brown
It’s official; I’ve been an Akron resident for a whole year. I frankly can’t believe it but am certainly pleased that I’ve been able to spend so much of that year in food happy stupors. Thanks Devil Strip! Though I feel that a year has turned me into some strain of Akronite, I also know that no matter how much time passes I’ll always hold onto my New England roots. These are sneaky roots: much of the time they are deep and silent and have little obvious hold on me, except for when it comes to seafood. I absolutely love seafood, as any good Boston girl should. There have been multiple times living in Ohio that I have said something along the lines of, “I would cut off my left arm at the shoulder for a lobster roll right now.” I didn’t know where to even look to fix my craving for some true East Coast lobster until I stumbled upon this tiny seafood place that answered my sad siren call for seafood. The Chowder House Cafe is small and set back and I imagine I would have driven right by it without a second thought or even a nod of acknowledgment if I weren’t looking for it. From the outside it almost looks like a tiny independent museum or art installation, with bright yellow walls contrasted with blue awnings, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before. Once I stepped inside, I was even more sure that I must have stumbled upon a museum rather than a restaurant. The walls are predominantly a deep cerulean and adorned with a variety of eclectic pieces, many being of the mosaic variety. It feels as though you are inside some sort of oceanic grotto. I kind of felt like a mermaid and I didn’t hate it.
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
to invoke the ocean on my taste buds. It was easily one of the best types of fish I had ever had. I will now be sure to search menus in the name of moonfish for the rest of my life. It’s one of those rare things that when I see it, I’ll have to order it. Ryan ordered the pad thai: noodles, scallops, shrimp, bok choy, peppers, and a whole heap of other stuff that comes with a spicy sauce that you can order at a spice level of 1 - 5. It arrived in a big bowl with tons of soupy sauce, perfect for slurping if you ask me…and since you’re reading this, you did ask me.
Left: Opah causes Brown to want to yell OPA! in celebration Right: We’re just shrimp and scallops swimming in some Pad Thai year after year Once Ryan and I were seated we took a gander at the menu. Tuesday through Thursday you can order an appetizer and two entrees at The Chowder House Cafe for $40- a steal considering how expensive seafood can be. As expected, we picked an appetizer first. Though each and every choice was mouthwatering, I’m sure, dear readers, that you will be unsurprised by our final choice: crab and lobster gratin, that is, crab and lobster baked with a thick cheese sauce and bread crumbs, served with crostini for dipping. Now, I’m absolutely sure I’ve claimed many melted cheese dishes are my “dream food,” but this one might actually take the cake (the crab cake, as it were). Lobster and melted cheese that I get to dip bread into? Are you kidding me? I can’t even
believe that’s allowed to exist, it’s just that good. Needless to say Ryan and I demolished it, using our forks to just straight up eat the dip once the crostini were gone. No regrets. It was hot and rich and melted in my mouth. The cheese never overpowered the lobster and crab and the crostini made for an excellent texture contrast. Now for the entrees. As I had gotten my fill of lobster, I was looking for something a little fishier. One of the specials really jumped out at me: opah, otherwise known as moonfish. Our server described it as similar to marlin and I was feeling adventurous so I went for it. It came served with ziti and roasted peppers and tomatoes in a light sauce. This fish needed minimal adornment, the skin was crispy and the insides tender, just fishy and salty enough
I can’t tell you how happy my Boston belly was after this meal. As with any “research” I do for this column, I am once again floored by Akron’s capacity to surprise me with hidden culinary gems. I highly recommend The Chowder House Cafe as everyone needs more summer seafood fixes in their life. Trust me, I’m an expert. // Holly Brown loves writing, mostly poems and about food. Maybe she should write more poems about food.
2028 Chestnut Blvd. • Cuyahoga Falls T-TH 11am - 9 pm; Fri 11 am- 10 pm; Sat 5 pm - 10 pm
AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12 /
THE Devil Strip |
PREVIEW The best thing to do at Porch Rokr may just be to fall in with the crowd and find the music wherever your feet lead you. But in case you want to do a little research so you can get to know some of the bands before the big day, then here you go. Be aware, some times and locations may change so review the schedule the day of Porch Rokr and you’ll be fine. For a little more in-depth view, check out Brittany Nader’s profile on Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites and Axon-Neuron on the next couple of pages. And don’t forget to swing by ye olde Beer Garden to say hey to some of The Devil Strip crew. 11 AM Shivering Timbers............... MAIN STAGE, sponsored by Jilly's Music Room ShiveringTimbersMusic.com Mount Ratz - Jazz Fusion................................................................Porch 11 mountratz.bandcamp.com Grady Miller - Americana & Blues...................................................Porch 17 Grady-Miller.com Guy Randall - Christian singer/Songwriter......................................Porch 19 reverbnation.com/guyrandall Keys & Corridors - Alternative Rock..................Bells Music Parking lot-Teen Stage-Skate Park, sponsored by Fairlawn School of Music facebook.com/keyscorridors Just Add Water! - Alternative Rock/Folk.........................................Porch 27 chrisplatis.com
Axon-Neuron.................................................................................Porch 21 axonneuron.com The Gage Brothers........................................................................Porch 23 thegagebrothers.com Doerr & Drumm..............................Porch 29 doerrdrumm.weebly.com facebook.com/DoerrDrumm Walking In Circles...... Bells Music Parking lot Teen Stage-Skate Park, sponsored by Fairlawn School of Music facebook.com/WalkinginCircles Jared Lees.................................................... Porch 5 - The Merriman Stage, sponsored by Blu Jazz+ & Musica jaredlees.com
Trial Of Lucy - Alternative Art Rock facebook.com/trialoflucy?fref=ts Porch 3.........................................................................................................
2 PM Verve Daddy....................................................................................Porch 2 vervedaddyband.com/
Elle and Travis - R&B/Jazz.................................................................Porch 7 facebook.com/NerilleH
Cuyahoga Valley Frackers.............................................................Porch 10 facebook.com/pages/The-Cuyahoga-Valleyackers/372924446068433
Root Doctor's Revenge................ Porch 9, sponsored by Jilly’s Music Room World Blues Funk Jam email@example.com
Sam’s Band..................Porch 12, sponsored by Coleman Insurance Services samsband.com
12 PM MAD Acoustic................................................................................Porch 28 facebook.com/madacousticakron Micro Giant..................Porch 12, sponsored by Coleman Insurance Services facebook.com/orchidsandinsects?fref=ts The Rose Villa................................................................................Porch 18 facebook.com/therosevillaband The Ryans Music..............................................................................Porch 2 The Baker's Basement ....................Porch 20 thebakersbasement.com Shawn and Shelby..........................Porch 22 facebook.com/shawnandshelby Taylor Carano..................................Porch 24 taylorcarano.com Bewarewolves.................................................................................Porch 8 1 PM Younger Still.........................MAIN STAGE, sponsored by Jilly’s Music Room facebook.com/youngerstill Sway Cherry Sway........................................................................Porch 11 swaycherrysway.com Free World.....................................................................................Porch 15 firstname.lastname@example.org Jammin Dans........................... Porch 17, sponsored by Excelsior Marketing soundcloud.com/daniel-sutter-music Solo Society...................................................................................Porch 19 spontaneouslycombustible.com/the-solo-society/
Layer Cake..................................Beer Garden, sponsored by The Devil Strip facebook.com/layercakeband The EffanGee Band.......................................................................Porch 16 Saul Glennon.................................................................................Porch 18 facebook.com/pages/Saul-ennon/247727668643556?fref=ts Birthday Noose..................Porch 26, sponsored by Frank’s Place on Market facebook.com/birthdaynoose Stunt Cycle............................Porch 4 facebook.com/pages/StuntCycle/484102448303292
3 PM Half Cleveland..................... MAIN STAGE, sponsored by Jilly's Music Room facebook.com/half cleveland Friendly Faux.................................................................................Porch 11 friendly-faux.com Soulshine........................................ Beer Garden, sponsored The Devil Strip reverbnation.com/soulshineakron SexyPigDivas.................................................................................Porch 15 facebook.com/sexypigdivas Sancat......................................Porch 17, sponsored by Excelsior Marketing facebook.com/sancatsancat Iris Isadora................................Porch 19 facebook.com/irisisadoramusic?fref=ts The New Rangers.......................................................................Porch 23 thenewrangers.com (continued on page 26)
The ol' pub is still crankin' out cold beer and cocktails all summer. Grab a bottle of Sam Adams, just $2.50 each this month, and catch the Tribe on the tube.
Wesley Bright & The Hi-Lites Bring a Northern Soul Dance Craze to Akron by Brittany Nader
Stop by during Porch Rokr for an authentic Highland Square experience. 816 W. MARKET STREET | AKRON
travel made easy
.................... “Soul ain’t nothing but a feeling,” says Brent feared had been lost if you weren’t witnessing Wesley, a.k.a. Wesley Bright, a.k.a. the front man of it firsthand. the Akron-based Northern Soul powerhouse that is Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites. Though the group hasn’t finished recording its full-length album, they have gained widespread The dynamic, vociferous ringleader says he never attention from their awe-inspiring live performances practices, and yet, a and YouTube music few moments spent videos. The band’s with the tight and following continues to adept septet makes grow, building up the such a statement soul dance revolution, pretty unbelievable. a mission The Hi-Lites From the crisp, evangelize with each dapper suits to the fiery, authentic note. skilled orchestration, the ensemble has “I’m very picky, proven they’re studied particular, about doing performers through and it the way is used to be through. But still, they done,” Wesley says. “I leave no doubt that soul music is about the heart try to take the blueprints of the old soul bands and and that it stirs feet as much as it stirs emotions, reinvent it using [the qualities] that make the seven which is how they’ve wowed so many crowds. They of us unique.” light fires under people. It might even be unsafe— certainly unwise—to sit through a Wesley Bright Wesley is critical of his work in the group because and the Hi-Lites performance, as the audience rises he says he wants to deliver the very best experience to dance, sparked out of their seats by a hot, sonic for both his band mates and the crowd time and roar and the kind of showmanship you might have (continued on page 21)
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
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August 7th August 21st The Mostly Blue Band The Numbers Band 7pm
August 9th AugustJackson, 22nd Krisitne Roger Hoover Rachel Brown & Becky 8pmBoyd accompanied by Emma AugustShook 28th Red 7pm Tail Ring
August 13th The New Soft Shoe August 8pm29th
Run Boy Run 8pm14th August
Sarah Clanton 7pm30th August
Mandolin Orange August 7pm21st
The Numbers Band 7pm
September 4th The Stumpy Basin August 22nd Volunteers Roger Hoover 8pm
September 5th 28th 10 August String Symphony Red Tail Ring 7pm 26th September
The Speedbumps August 29th Run Boy Run October 8pm 1st
Roger Hoover presents “pastures plenty” Augustof30th Mandolin 8pmOrange 7pm
September Boy=Girl4th The Stumpy Basin 7pm Volunteers
October 4th September 5th Aoife O’Donovan 10 String Symphony 7pm September 26th TheTickets Speedbumps at
www.peninsulahistory.org Tickets at www.peninsulahistory.org
Brings Its Prog Rock Blend to Porch Rokr by Brittany Nader
Few local bands have featured the number of musicians that have lent their skills and style to a group quite like Axon-Neuron has. Pinpointing a particular genre for the musical outfit is almost as difficult as reciting all the members who have played with the group throughout the years. Upwards of 16 local musicians have helped create the band’s sound since 2011, resulting in a style that fuses the epic noise of progressive rock and metal with the artistry of jazz and classical orchestration. Each of these particular branches of music involves a high level of technical skill, which is something that sets Axon-Neuron apart is pushing the band to make its mark upon the local music scene. The whole project began when The University of Akron alumnus and Kent State guitar professor Jeremey Poparad was searching for an excuse to play one last time with some musician friends who were preparing to leave Ohio. This jam session of sorts resulted in an entire full-length album that was written, rehearsed and recorded in just four months. Poparad kept the hustle going despite the departure of Axon-Neuron’s original lineup by recruiting players with a diverse set of skills and influences, allowing the project to turn convention on its head and incorporate many styles of music into a colorful display of sonic bravura.
a player who left to join the circus.) Currently, Axon-Neuron tours with vocalist Amanda Rankin – who was a student of Poparad’s – jazz pianist Steve Miller and guitarist Ryan McDermott. The group also plays live shows with prolific bassist Matt DeRubertis and percussionist Dylan Gomez, rounding out the sound and creating performances that are both proficient and memorable. “Doing those types of shows, you tend to make good friends with people, as you're stuck in close proximity to them night after night for weeks on end,” Poparad says. “I'm been pleasantly surprised at how enthusiastic everyone has been when I asked them to play with us from time to time.”
“Axon-Neuron has always been my laboratory to take all of the types of music I love and try to play them all at the same time,” Poparad says. “I'm of the opinion that good music is good music, regardless of the label applied to it.”
Poparad points to Akron’s diverse music scene as inspiration for keeping Axon-Neuron going. He says he keeps specific local musicians in mind when writing, trying to incorporate each of their strengths into the arrangements and blend that with their own unique input and suggestions. Keeping his ear to the ground and remaining keenly aware of what other musicians in the area are doing has been an important element in the development of Axon-Neuron’s fresh and distinctive musical ideas. Because each of the current players is involved with a number of projects, the band is currently organizing its strategy to really get its name out there and familiarize locals with this particular group. Axon-Neuron is gearing up to performing at the Highland Square Porch Rokr Festival, which Poparad explains is a bit of a departure from the rock venue gigs they’ve been used to playing in the area.
Poparad explains moving through different musical styles has helped him maintain a fresh perspective on writing and performing, which allows him to keep his skills sharp. He has recruited likeminded peers from school and musical theater, recognizing that each musician is often busy making a career out of their craft, so Axon-Neuron’s lineup is fluid and ever changing. (The group even had to replace
Axon-Neuron is also in the midst of recording a new album, “Metamorphosis,” the grandest, most tenacious undertaking Poparad and his troupe of players has participated in thus far. The 16-song double release includes a 24-piece orchestra — quite the feat for Poparad compared to the band’s previous two recordings that, while still experimental and creatively composed, did not involve quite as much
time, organization and participation as this bold new release. Poparad explains his degree in composition inspired him to write arrangements for a full orchestra, and becoming familiar with so many skilled musicians in the area allowed him the opportunity to make his dream a reality on the new album. “The arrangements are lot more intricate — and difficult — than anything we've tried before,” Poparad says. “When I was sketching out the plans for this album, I realized I knew enough musicians from my theatre gigs to actually put together an orchestra, so I figured, ‘why not?’” From every recorded moment to each band member’s creative bios on Axon-Neuron’s official website, Poparad strives to bring out the unique personalities and inclinations of everyone involved with the project. Working with jazz improvisers, especially, has been beneficial, as playful experimentation and reflection of each person’s characteristics as musicians has been a key part of Axon-Neuron’s natural, fluid progression sound wise. Poparad says after Porch Rokr, the group is lining shows up for September and October with a CD release party planned for January of next year, possibly held at the Akron Civic Theatre, which they hope to film so the visual aspects that make the band so unique can be recorded, allowing the musicians to further connect. “The first time I got the string orchestra together to rehearse for the recording sessions for [our first album] ‘Brainsongs’ was spine tingling,” Poparad says. “The music for this band is really best heard live, so I'd like to capture the whole thing, orchestra and all.” Catch Axon-Neuron during the Porch Rokr festivities Saturday, Aug. 29 at 1 p.m. on 40 Mt. View Ave. Follow the band’s journey recording “Metamorphosis” on its Facebook page, Facebook.com/axonneuron, or Instagram @axoneuron.
Entertainment (continured form page 19) time again. However, there’s more room for humor now as they work through each show because the discipline and dynamic of the group allows each musician to perform at the top of his game, bringing a livelier and more jovial feeling to the stage. Wesley says the laid-back rhythm section and continuous groove has helped the band stay authentic to the sound they aspire to while attracting the attention and adoration of those they perform for. Church and family, Wesley says, have kept the rhythmic heartbeat of the Northern soul outfit strong. As the front man, Wesley’s ability to command the stage has its roots in gospel music coupled with his love and respect for performers like Arthur Conley, Joe Tex and James Brown, whose ability to work a crowd was almost magical. Drummer Nick Frisch, bassist Bob Basone, guitarist Jimmy Parsons and horn players Max Brady, Nathan Davis and Matt Garrett on trombone, saxophone and trumpet, respectively, mix their take on the tight, dance-y Motown sound with vocals that could’ve been borrowed from the grittier Stax (maybe even the overlooked James Carr), channeled through Wesley’s family roots in Georgia. The result is a controlled chaos—passionate but methodic; meticulousness with an inclination toward breezy, lively performances. This is how they’ve shaken-up venues around Ohio and across the country. They even played in Canada, opening for R&B legend Otis Clay. Though far from their Rubber City home, the group had no trouble demonstrating its power to move an audience. “That’s when I realized we had something special,” Wesley says. “People treated us like we were this phenomenon and asked us for our autographs. We felt like The Beatles or something.” Wesley Bright and The Hi-Lites have become something of a staple in Cleveland, frequently gracing The Beachland Ballroom. Wesley says they try to hold back on some gig offers as to not overstay their welcome in the area. But with such fun, interactive, call-and-response performances, it’s difficult to imagine that happening any time soon. As the uninitiated will witness at Porch Rokr, when the band headlines the Highland Square event, Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites bring people together in a way few others can— and makes them dance.
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
Watsky & Crème Fraiche featuring A-1 & Mikos Da Gawd Meaner Than the Average Tour at Musica, Akron, Ohio M. Sophie Hamad
I walk up the familiar brick alley in Downtown Akron, toward the red-lit DANCE sign, and I am surprised at the length of the line for the Watsky show. I’ve never attended a sold-out show at Musica. I’ve also never moshed. Both of these things are about to change. Watsky is George Watsky, California rapper, slam poet and performer. This show is his first Ohio stop on the Meaner Than the Average tour with San Francisco-based rapper A-1. Inside Musica, the crowd is a mass of flannel shirts and backwards baseball caps, baby faces and fresh optimism. A-1 opens for Watsky with his producer and DJ, Mikos Da Gawd. A-1’s Facebook page describes his music as “Cerebral Western Outlaw Music.” He far exceeds the expectations I developed while watching a few of his videos on YouTube. In fact, he blows my mind with his stage presence and emotional charge. He brings the gift of hyphy to Akron—a type of music (as well as an entire movement) which originated in Oakland—and it sounds just like you would assume it does: bass-heavy, kind of like dubstep, but less trance and more emphasis on the words. I almost cry when he sings “Good People,” and I decide I’ll look out for his next
tour. It’s not surprising that Akron loved him—his website notes that all the vocals on his newest album, “Thurlian” were “mixed and mastered by WooStaar in a blimp.” After a brief intermission, Watsky comes on stage with his live band, Crème Fraiche. They start out strong with one of my favorite songs ever: “Moral of the Story,” a song about working hard and achieving one’s goals, in which he declares, “I’ll fingerbang my fears / I’ll fucking punch a dragon / Even with the Himalayas in my way, it’s gonna happen.”
A-1 (PHOTO: facebook.com/CallMeAdam)
His entire set kills it. Akron is slain. People are dancing! Akron embraces his combination of silly fast-rapping and poetic, profound lyrics. He is down-to-earth, and he quickly develops a genuine connection with his audience. The moshing finally gets real for the last few songs, and this time I don’t run like I usually do. I’ve had a few drinks, so I close my eyes, and the crowd moves me. This isn’t the mosh pit I’ve seen at punk shows. This mosh pit is like a hug. When I finally open my eyes, I realize the set is almost over. But there is always an encore, even at allages shows.
name. Watsky spits, “I jump the freeway median, I’m savage / Cause my mode is that I’m meaner than the average / Like my teacher taught me when I heard the crowd applaud / I thought I was an atheist until I realized I’m a god.”
Akron expects one more, and we get it. Watsky comes back on stage and tells everyone to put a middle finger up in the air. And then he plays my absolute favorite of his songs. Apparently most of the crowd shares the sentiment, because they explode with gratitude as he begins his hit “Whoa Whoa Whoa,” the song that gives this tour its
What a sweet dude. Akron loves you, George Watsky. Come back anytime.
His lyrics are so, so tight. I leave the show feeling the California love, already anticipating both rappers’ future tours. When I walk out, I see that Watsky truly keeps it real. He is set up in front of Urban Eats, ready to sign autographs and connect with his fans, not just for ten minutes or so, but for over an hour.
// M. Sophie Hamad is a long-time hip-hop lover and poet with a deep appreciation for all things lyrical, positive, intellectual, and political.
George Watsky georgewatsky.com Twitter: @gwatsky
A-1 George Watsky. (PHOTO: georgewatsky.com)
AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12 /
a-1music.com Twitter: @adamraps
THE Devil Strip |
Music & COncerts Wednesday, August 19 Music in the Meadow: The New Barleycorn 5:30 pm at Howe Meadow (FREE) 4040 Riverview Rd, Peninsula Grab a blanket and a picnic dinner and bring your family to hear FREE music in your national park! Festivities start at 5:30 p.m. with family games and activities. Music starts at 6:30 p.m. The New Barleycorn is John Delaney and Alex DeGabriele. Raised in Ireland, this duo performs contemporary folk and traditional Celtic songs with vitality, passion, and a touch of humor.
accomplished, versatile musician, who commands the stage with both his guitar prowess and passionate singing. Darius Rucker Southern Style Tour 7pm at Blossom Music Center ($31) 1145 W Steels Corner Rd, Cuyahoga Falls Darius Rucker is no stranger to entertaining a crowd, having toured since the early 90s as lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish. Now firmly established as a country star in his own right, Rucker brings his Southern Style Tour to Blossom Music Center, and with support from Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne and A Thousand Horses, it's going to be an amazing show!
Friday, August 21
Thursday, August 20
Idina Menzel 8pm at Blossom Music Center ($33.50) 1145 W Steels Corner Rd, Cuyahoga Falls Rising to fame with her performance in in the Broadway musical Rent, a role she reprised for the 2005 film adaptation, Idina Menzel is now an international Broadway superstar. More recently, she played Elsa in Disney’s “Frozen”, and performed "Let It Go" which has featured in music charts internationally. The stunning songstress has picked up numerous awards for her performances and will carry on her success with a huge North American tour!
The Jon Mosey Trio with Colin John 5:30pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron The Jon Mosey Trio plays all-original, ass-shakin’, blues rock music. They’re joined by Colin John, an
Tia Brazda 8pm at BLU Jazz+ ($15) 47 E Market St, Akron Having honed her cutting-edge sound in the clubs
Chicago 7:30 pm at Hard Rock Live ($56) 10777 Northfield Rd, Northfield Second only to The Beach Boys in Billboard singles and album chart success, Chicago is one of the world’s most successful rock groups of all time. Don’t miss your chance to see them here in Northeast Ohio!
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Billie Holiday is one of the most influential and legedary jazz singers of all time, rising to fame with her distinctive voice in the 1930s. However, she also had a difficult life, having been sexually assaulted as a child and later struggling with drugs and alcohol. Here to tell her story is The Center for Applied Theater & Active Culture and one of Akron’s only African-American theater group, Ma’Sue Productions with “Blue, Miss Billie” written by award-winning poet and screenwriter John Dayo-Aliya. The play runs September 3-5th and 11-12th at 8pm, 6th and 11th at 2pm at 220 S. Balch St. Tickets are $10 presale and $12 at the door.
of Toronto, Tia Brazda’s sassy songs and pin-up girl style have made a startling impression. Her music pays homage to the golden era while still remaining daringly modern.
Saturday, August 22 The Sounds of Touch and The Relatively Jammin Blues Band 7pm at Lock 3 (FREE) 200 S Main St, Akron The Sounds of Touch hail from Dayton and their energetic dance performances and engaging personalities have brought many an audience to their feet. The “relatively” in The Relatively Jammin Blues Band doesn’t refer to their jammin abilities, but to the fact that the members are all family members.
The Mighty Soul Night 7pm at Uncorked (FREE) 22 N High St, Akron Join DJs El Presidente, Ben Crazy and Forrest Getem Gump for an eclectic night of soul, jazz, disco, boogie, afrobeat and more!
entertainment Roger Hoover 8pm at GAR Hall ($10) 1785 Main St, Peninsula Ohio songwriter and guitarist Roger Hoover’s plaintive, original brand of arcane folk and blues seem to come from some unknown time and place. These are timeless laments and rambles of a songwriting guitarist and banjo player with one foot in the past and the other in the now. The Delta Saints 9pm at Musica ($10) 51 E Market St, Akron Steeped in rock ‘n’ roll’s building blocks – country, R&B, soul and gospel – The Delta Saints have stripped their roots/blues sound down to its essence, yielding a sound unlike anything else.
Sunday, August 23 Strongsville City Jazz Swing Band 6pm at Hudson Bandstand (FREE) 27 E Main St, Hudson Spend a wonderful evening with one of the most versatile dance bands in the Cleveland area, playing everything from jazz classics to swing music from the big band era.
Monday, August 24 Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles 7pm at BLU Jazz+ ($15) 47 E Market St, Akron Head to BLU for a special Monday night show, featuring Grammy award-winning organist/ keyboardist Cory Henry. Having played the organ since he was 2, Henry’s music captures the breadth of jazz and gospel and produce something altogether new through his unique blending of the two genres.
Tuesday, August 25
Fun loving country superstars Rascal Flatts bring their electrifying live show to Blossom! Supported by American Idol's Scotty McCreery and The Voice's RaeLynn, the trio's Riot Tour is sure to get audience members of all ages dancing non stop! The Black Dog Octet 8pm at BLU Jazz+ ($12) 47 E Market St, Akron Lead by a front line of five premier saxophonists and backed by a hard-swinging rhythm section, this eight-piece group of NE Ohio all-star musicians presents the music of Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Oliver Nelson, Jerry Bergonzi & more!
Twang and Round 9pm at Musica ($10) 51 E Market St, Akron Take a couple of Kentucky boys that pursue music with an all-out passion, yet keep their craft real to life, and you get Twang and Round. With influences that span across every genre ranging from Creedence Clearwater Revival and Lynyrd Skynyrd to UGK, Outkast and Beastie Boys, just to name a few. You will find a bridge between these genres with the art created by Twang and Round, who make music because they truly love it.
Saturday, August 29
Thursday, August 27
Fat Tuesday Big Band feat. Ernie Krivda 8pm at BLU Jazz+ ($22) 47 E Market St, Akron One of the most energetic and talented groups in the Midwest, the Fat Tuesday Big Band, led by legendary tenor saxophonist Ernie Krivda, will converge at Main & Market for an unforgettable night of blues, bop, ballads, boogie and shout as they present the music of prolific composers & arrangers: Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson, and Thad Jones!
Friday, August 28 Rascal Flatts 7:30pm at Blossom Music Center ($31) 1145 W Steels Corner Rd, Cuyahoga Falls
AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE
‘Cure for the Blu’s’
Sir Charles Jones 8pm at Akron Civic Theatre ($45) 182 S Main St, Akron Sir Charles was born in Akron but raised in Alabama. With his versatile style and wide range of vocal ability; with just a touch of smooth rhythm melodic melodies, and the cry of love, pain, happiness, fun-times, and the sincerity of commitment; Sir Charles Jones proves why he is crowned “The King of Southern Soul.”
ZZ Top 7:30pm at Hard Rock Live ($75) 10777 Northfield Rd, Northfield Since their debut album was released in 1971, ZZ Top has become known for its strong blues roots and humorous lyrical motifs, relying heavily on double entendres and innuendo. ZZ Top's musical style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired rock on their early albums, then incorporating new wave, punk rock and dancerock, with heavy use of synthesizers.
RailShakers 8pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron Sweet harmonies, harmonica, well-crafted percussion and clever arrangements make the original music of RailShakers feel warm and familiar despite being difficult to compare.
When you need a
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra feat. Wynton Marsalis 8pm at Blossom Music Center ($29) 1145 W Steels Corner Rd, Cuyahoga Falls Virtuosos of jazz meet the virtuosos of The Cleveland Orchestra. For the first time ever, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra join with The Cleveland Orchestra for Swing Symphony, a homage to jazz and pop styles of ragtime, mambo, bebop, and church music.
Sunday, August 30 Mandolin Orange 7pm at GAR Hall ($10) 1785 Main St, Peninsula Mandolin Orange’s music — laced with bluegrass, country and folk — is often wistful and contemplative without being somber, and always firmly grounded in the South.
Comedy is one of the most underrated forms of art. In my experience when people think of art, they think of paintings and books and music, and don’t initially think of those who entertain their audience through jokes. But comedy is similar to plays: you have to stand up in front of an audience and deliver lines that took time and skill to craft. And unlike most plays, comedy also involves interacting with the audience, gauging their interest, and improvising when things fall flat. It is not for the faint of heart. Saturday, August 8, I headed down to BLU Jazz+ for “Cure for the Blu’s,” a brand new late night comedy series started by local comedians Willis Gordon and Eric Brewer. This series features the best comedians from across the nation right here in Downtown Akron. I was particularly excited to check it out because Gordon has been one of my favorite comedians in the area for quite a while. His ability to seamlessly
improvise while delivering carefully crafted lines shows how experienced he is. Everyone should see him at least once. I picked the perfect night to go because it was headlined by the hilarious Juanda Mayfield from Cleveland. She had the crowd in stitches as she flirted with the men, discussed failed relationships, and picked on herself. The other comedians were not bad themselves, though, as is almost always the case, some were better than others. If you want to check out “Cure for the Blu’s,” it happens every Saturday at BLU Jazz+ in Downtown Akron at 11:30pm. Tickets are $7, with a discount if you also attend the jazz show prior to it. // Bronlynn Thurman is a quirky creative who loves immersing herself in the local art scene.
AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12 /
THE Devil Strip |
TASTE OF AKRON The 10th annual "Taste of Akron" is in the books now but you can relive (or experience for the first time) some of the highlights, captured by the gifted Svetla Morrison who demonstrates her eye for the unique. Photos courtesy of Svetla Morrison.
CREATIVE COG The Devil Strip's Katelyn Gainer partnered with Liz Tyran (Urban Eats, Musica) and TDS writer/illustrator Bronlynn Thurman to launch a brand new networking/learning breakfast event for Akron's creative class called Creative Cog. The first talk was delivered by publisher Chris Horne and despite that, lots of people showed up! Photos courtesy of the lovely and creative Shane Wynn.
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Bathrooms and Books
Wolf Creek Tavern and Nature Realm Bathroom Reviews
In this issue, we review the crappers in a park and a tavern. by Marissa Marangoni and Emily Dressler
Trails and Toilets
Taverns and Toilets by Marissa Marangoni
The Wolf Creek Tavern in Norton has been around since 1840, but I haven’t, so I don’t have an excuse for having to pee like a 175-yearold. After enjoying some Mystery Beers on the patio-half of which I guessed right and were free (!), I clumsily navigated my way to the facilities. After one wrong turn, I located the main bathrooms right by the entrance and the main indoor seating area. I joined a one-person line outside of the women’s bathroom, which is right by the men’s, but I only waited long enough to see that both are single stalls, which I greatly appreciate. A waiter walked by and suggested I go upstairs. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that not only does WCT feature locally sourced food and entertaining beer games, but it also features two personal bathrooms for men and women each. On my way upstairs, I couldn’t resist petting the velvet paisley-patterned designs on the wallpaper. At the top, there are two rooms for larger parties, but since there was no one else there, the place felt haunted. It it felt like the third floor of an old house, so naturally I imagined ghosts staring at me and then locked myself in the bathroom.
by Emily Dressler The upstairs bathrooms at WCT showcase clean spaces with low lighting and red floral wallpaper. The women’s bathroom was in good condition: everything was clean and functioning. Across from the sink, the best kind of paper towel dispenser is installed, meaning it did not require me to touch anything but the towel I needed. My favorite part is the basket with “sundry” items. The basket holds a bottle of hairspray, a handful of pads, and a pile of tampons. When I see a place trying to take care of its ladies, I award it a gold star and will happily add a tampon to the collection (if i have one). The men’s bathroom appeared to be in pretty much the same state as the women’s, just with the addition of some dirty paper towels on the floor. Men are weird. The restroom facilities at Wolf Creek Tavern get 4.5 out of 5 toilets. If you find yourself in Norton, you can definitely go here and drink a few beers in peace knowing that you can empty your bladder comfortably. // Marissa Marangoni writes for a living and for fun and eats popcorn every single day--sometimes while she’s writing, and sometimes while she’s watching trashy TV.
Ah, nature. The women’s restroom at the F. A. Seiberling Nature Realm Visitors Center is the queen of park bathrooms. We are spoiled with the majesty of the Metroparks, from the trails to the toilets. The facilities are located near the entrance and are clearly marked. The women’s restroom has four stalls, none of which were occupied during my visit. Inward-opening stall doors are bothersome. However, I have recently learned that such doors are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Color me insensitive. A stall door can only open outward if there is a minimum clearance of four feet. Public restrooms should be larger to allow for outswinging doors. Build it, bathroom architects. The people have spoken. Sorry to harp on stall doors, but I’m small-toaverage sized and practically have to stand in the toilet to open an in-swinging door. And here’s another thing: I shudder with disgust if my calf rubs against the toilet bowl. This is pathetic and I should get over it.
(continued from page 18) DD MOTO...................................................................................Porch 26 facebook.com/DDMOTOKENT Ava and the Hitmen.............................................. Bells Music Parking lot The Vicious Six.............................................................................Porch 4 Teen Stage-Skate Park, sponsored by Fairlawn School of Music facebook.com/THEVICIOUSSIX The Midwest Session.................................................................Porch 29 From Borealis................................................................................Porch 8 facebook.com/midwestsession facebook.com/fromborealis Copali................Porch 5, The Merriman Stage, sponsored by Blu-Jazz-Musica 5 PM facebook.com/copalimusic bad hounds....................... MAIN STAGE, sponsored by Jilly's Music Room Peep....................................................Porch 7 badhounds.com facebook.com/Peep.theband?ref=hl Thor Platter.................................................................................Porch 11 Scarlet & The Harlots................Porch 9, sponsored by Jilly's Music Room facebook.com/thorplatterband scarletandtheharlots.com Rebekah Jean.......................... Beer Garden, sponsored by The Devil Strip rebekahjean.org 4 PM Night Shift....................................Porch 12, Abusive Terrestrial.........................Porch 15 sponsored by Coleman Insurance Services facebook.com/SCDifferent The Beyonderers...........................Porch 10 Rooster Jones................................Porch 17, thebeyonderers.com sponsored by Excelsior Marketing roosterjones.webs.com Rhodes Street Rude Boys.............Porch 16 rhodesstreetreggae.com Michael McFarland.....................................................................Porch 19 Gretchen Pleuss..........................................................................Porch 20 michaelmcfarlandmusic.com/EPK gretchenpleuss.com River Station...............................................................................Porch 23 The Coteries................................................................................Porch 22 soundcloud.com/river-station-band thecoteries.com Three Legged Chairs............................................. Bells Music Parking lot The Good Knights......................................................................Porch 24 Teen Stage-Skate Park, sponsored by Fairlawn School of Music facebook.com/pages/Three-Legged-Chairs/656264627772596 thegoodknights.com
| THE Devil Strip / AUGUST 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #12
The wood-panelled ceiling is classy and serene. According to the Metroparks website, reclaimed lumber was used widely throughout the Visitors Center in the 2009-10 update. Keeping with environmentally responsible design, new low-flow toilets use 48% less water than traditional toilets, according to the Metroparks website. Unless the Visitors Center has a secret problem with clogs, this watersaving endeavor probably still flushes turds down the toilet. The updates also included bathroom sinks. The Metroparks website reports that they are constructed from recycled milk jugs and use 80% less water than typical hand washing stations. Maybe this is because only one of the faucets worked. The Xlerator hand dryer is so forceful it makes the skin on your hands ripple. This is my favorite kind of hand dryer. They have replaced paper towels, for good reason. The Nature Realm earns 4 out of 5 toilets. // Emily Dressler writes for a living and loves many different things so much.
The Dreemers.............................................................................Porch 27 youtu.be/E4Ux5LrRsR0 The Ravenna Arsenal...................................................................Porch 3 facebook.com/theravennaarsenal Visions of the Nile........................................Porch 30, Weber Block Party visionsofthenile.com Acid Cats............Porch 5, Merriman Stage, sponsored by Blu-Jazz-Musica facebook.com/AkronAcidCats Sean Kelley & The Ohio Jukes.....................................................Porch 7 facebook.com/TheOhioJukes The Bizarros...............................Porch 9, sponsored by Jilly's Music Room bizarros.com 6 PM xtra crispy............................... Beer Garden, Sponsored by The Devil Strip facebook.com/pages/xtra-crispy/122482521736 Cover Band..................... Porch 26, sponsored by Frank’s Place on Market thecoverbandakron.com/ 7 PM Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites ........................................ MAIN STAGE, sponsored by Jilly’s Music Room facebook.com/WesleyBrightAndTheHiLites
A K RO N A RT M U S EU M T H RO U G H OCTO B E R 25, 2015
Photographs from the Collection
Upper: Barbara Probst, Exposure #106: N.Y.C., Broome & Crosby Streets, 04.17.13, 2:29 p.m., 2013 Lower L-R: Walker Evans, Southeast, 1936; Richard Misrach, Flooded House Foundation, Salton Sea, 1984 (printed 2001); Helen Levitt, New York, c. 1940 (printed later); Joel Meyerowitz, Porch, 1981. All works Collection of the Akron Art Museum. One South High | Akron, OH 44308 | 330.376.9185 | www.AkronArtMuseum.org
Our continuing in-depth coverage on the questionable, largely unexplained moves made by UA President Scott Scarborough and the Board of Trus...
Published on Aug 21, 2015
Our continuing in-depth coverage on the questionable, largely unexplained moves made by UA President Scott Scarborough and the Board of Trus...