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A Year in the Life of Akron's Arts 23 The Mayor makes a mean red sauce 33 Going gaga for Neil Zaza FREE

Hell yeah! We made it a whole year!

Thank you, Akron!

We wouldn't have made it through this first year withoutL you.


6 You’re So Akron If… 2016 9 The Scarborough Timeline 12 The Palette: March events 13 Arts Now 14 A Year in Review 16 Revolving Art

table of contents

20 Community Events 21 Nothing Simple About Syrup 22 New/Native 23 Profile: Mayor Dan Horrigan 24 Akron2Columbus

The Devil Strip 12 E. Exchange Street 2nd Floor Akron, Ohio 44308 Publisher:

Chris “is still hoping ‘Swass’ catches on” Horne Cell phone: 330-555-NEVER-ANSWERS Art Director:

27 Arts & Ale

Alesa “doesn’t sleep” Upholzer, Talented and Patient Visuals Editor:

28 The Wanderer

Svetla “The Balkan Comrade” Morrison Copy Editor:

29 Hoppin’ Frog at The Rail

Jessica “My name is not Jecca” Cherok Sales Director:

32 Devil’s Dozen

TJ Masterson

34 Six Akron Bands You Should Know

The Editorial Team

35 Film Freak 36 Review: Moustache Yourself 38 Urine Luck

Arts Section Editor:

Bronlynn “Space Kitty” Thurman Assistant Arts Editors:

Megan “Oxford comma slayer” Combs Noor Hindi, Will Get Back to Chris about That Community & Culture Section Editors:

M. Sophie Hamad, ambitious wordsmith and mama Katie “Miss Scarlet in the Conservatory with a candlestick” Jackson Assistant Culture Club Editor:

About the Cover

Jenny Conn, Real O.G. Storyteller Mackenzie “Needs a whimsical middle name” Mehrl

Brian Dunphy was the right fit for it. The only question was whether he had the interest and the time, especially since

Music Editor:

features an all-female superhero team. So I asked and he said yes, and then he brought along his buddy Dan Gorman, who partners with Brian on the “Altered Realm” comic strip that appears in the magazine, to add color to the pencil and inking. As talented as Dan is — he’s illustrated trading card sets for “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” “The Walking Dead” — I’ve been assured, “he is not to be trifled with when it comes to color finishes.” And this, my friends, is how you make an omelette, or at least how you make an illustration for the cover of our first anniversary issue. That is, you luck out and meet some talented, generous folks. Thank you, guys! - Chris H. [You can follow Brian on Twitter at @supe78 and Dan at @GDanArtist.] Clockwise (left to right): UA President Scott Scarborough; Zippy; Not Yo Daddy's founder Cristina Gonzalez Alcala; "Archie the Snowman" author Joanna Wilson; LeBron James; State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron); Akron-made superhero Apama; Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan; former Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic; pianist/actor Theron Brown; baker Mary Hospodarsky (aka Sweet Mary); soul singer/bee-keeper Wesley Bright.


Last issue, we incorrectly attributed the story about former Akronite Paul Tazewell, “From the Rubber City to the Emerald City.” Credit for that story belongs solely to Mary Menzemer. I’m sorry, Mary! - Chris H.

| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

Music & Entertainment Section Editors:

As soon as the idea popped in my head, I had no doubt that

this whole thing came together late in the game. One of the recently profiled “comics creators you should know,” Brian is an Akron-residin’ illustrator par excellence who, among other things, has penciled for a comic called “Fem Force,” which


Jessica “Spreadsheets!” Cherok Ilenia “Our Short, Tired Garbanzo Bean Eatin', WTF Video Girl Writer” Pezzaniti

Brittany “Sass Master Flash” Nader Staff Writers, Columnists & The A/V Club:

Emily “Lady Beer Drinker” Anderson; Holly “The Wanderer” Brown; Emily “Potty Perfectionist” Dressler and Marissa Marangoni, Bathroom Culture Enthusiast; “Lost in an Altered Realm” Dan Gorman & Brian Dunphy; Gabe “Softballin’” Gott; Paul “I don’t write” Hoffman; Chris “the Film Freak” Kessinger; Andrew “Has a mighty fine beard” Leask; Jacob Luther, the Towny Townie Toonist; Theodore “Quieter Days” Mallison; Mary “not so contrary, in fact, quite easy to get along with” Menzemer; the absolutely real and totally non-fictional Georgio Pelogrande; Roger Riddle, Wears the Purple Pants; Bronlynn “Enemy of Avocados, Destroyer of PEEPS” Thurman; The Shane Wynn Supremacy Contributors:

Allie Angelo, Rick Bohan, Dominic Caruso, Mary Menzemer, Shelby Heitzenrater, Brit Charek, Craftiest Staff Writer/Maker of Empires; Jessica Conti, Says She’s Not That Clever But Must Be Lying; Heather “Doctor, Doctor” Braun; Eric Morris, Was Abducted By Jojo Pizzaface’; Scott Piepho; Bert Stevens ————————­­­———————————— CONTACT US: Office ...............................................................(330) 842-6606 General Info ................................... Advertising Distribution Website Facebook ............................. 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 of The Devil Strip are copyright 2016 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.

Pub Notes 330.434.4722

When I was eight or nine years old, I saw a photo of the state fair on the front page of the community section of our daily paper, and I had an idea. Since neighborhood kids tended to congregate at our house because we had the most spacious and tree-free front yard on the block — perfect for kickball, wiffle ball and football — I had no trouble rounding up a few friends for a

sand, making it nearly impossible to ride with any speed.

conversation that day. It was about changing up our backyard, an otherwise grim, grassless, fenced-in mess where we made ramshackle forts of the large, wooden shipping crates that once housed machine parts at the YKK zipper factory where my dad worked.

consequences of that in the last two “real” jobs I had, working for large media corporations while that weird, adventurous little boy I used to be was suffocating.

I may not have been quite that eloquent, but I was dead serious. I could picture the whole thing in my head. And I knew we’d only need a few good rides (inspections be damned) to draw kids from all over our sleepy, Southern town. What would Mom and Dad say? Who cares? I’d be famous. I’d be on the front page of the community section of our local paper!

The reason I connect so much with Akron is that I know — I can see it everywhere — this city is far more than it gives itself credit for being. There is more depth, more creativity, more heart, more soul, more promise than too many Akronites currently tell themselves. But we have to be careful what we pretend to be, right? Well, I think Akron was lulled into

On to the next thing, and so on and so forth until, as an adult, I found myself working an awful shift at a TV station, posting lizard brainpoking stories on social media. I was miserable. One of the great morals novelist Kurt Vonnegut taught me to believe is "We must be careful about what we pretend to be." I lived the

But I got lucky. My wife and my friends — and subsequently, the city and people of Akron — Listen, I told them, I think we can take all that saved me from that fate. The Devil Strip has wood from the forts and turn them into — wait been my second (or third, fourth, fifth, fiftieth) for it — our own fair. I’m talking rollercoasters chance and now that I have had the luxury of and rides and swings and those spinny things looking back at our first year I’m reminded of that make you vomit. what drives me.

Not to ruin the ending, but the backyard amusement park never happened. We got distracted by something else, most likely playing a rousing game of Rock War in the adjacent creek, which only involved throwing rocks at one another from semi-great distances and trying not to get hit by what had been thrown. A year or so later, using some grass-cutting money, I bought an old stand-up Coke machine that you had to reach into from the top like a cooler to get your goods. Seeing as we always had games going on in our front yard and it was always hot (because Georgia), I devised a plan — with my folks’ help this time — to sell concessions with the Coke machine at our impromptu games. They bought a couple 12-packs of Coke and a box of those little lunch-sized bags of Lays chips. Everything sold at 50 cents a piece, which was the market rate at the stand where we played Little League baseball.

2) the fact that the track was almost entirely


customized T-Shirts & Hoodies • glasses & mugs • Keychains & Gifts

thinking it’s a city that people leave just as I had been lulled into pretending I could do no better than getting up before dawn to spread awful news as far and wide as the Internet would carry it. That’s changed for Akron over the last year. The narrative is shifting. That isn’t due to The Devil Strip but I’m grateful we’ve been here to watch this happen, to be part of it and to tell some of those stories and spread some of that good news around. And thank you for being part of this too. Part of keeping the magazine afloat. Part of slapping folks upside the head with the story of a New Akron. Part of the fun. Now, go grab some friends and let’s really get this party started! Take care,

Opening March 4th Previously Unreleased Studio Ghibli Masterpiece

ONLY YESTERDAY Directed by Isao Takahata


Bolstered by that experiment, my friends and I decided we’d host a BMX race in the (sort of) circular track we called Tuxedo because it was sandwiched between a cluster of houses off Tuxedo Road. Though we had a plan for registration fees, getting trophies made and setting up stands for spectators, we failed to consider two considerable obstacles: 1) The prodigious number of discarded appliances being used as target practice by the locals, and • 18 N High St, Akron

Dedicated to my dad, “Rusty” Horne (August 13, 1955 to April 1, 2011)




the agenda

Top 10

Return of ‘You’re so Akron if…’


We geared up for our very first print issue (March 17, 2015) by asking you to tell us what makes you Akron AF, er… “So Akron.” We had a ton of great entries too, many that poured in AFTER we published. So it only makes sense to celebrate our first year in print — and some of the wonder and weirdness of our city — by compiling a few more of our favorite “You're So Akron If…” entries (some lightly edited for clarity). Enjoy.

(I May or May Not Have)

Made in Year One by Chris Horne

Unlike some Akron newbies, I have no problem admitting that mistakes were made and I, in fact, made them. It took hours to comb through the running list of my errors, but I finally narrowed it down to the 10 biggest mistakes I made.


Had a conversation about the Browns “QB situation.”


Spent weeks tracking Akron’s elusive “car pooper.”


Tried the polar bear jump in Summit Lake.

"You're so Akron if…” celebrated your Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day at the Lebanese-owned Tangier’s, then ended the day at the Italian-owned Luigi’s. — Heather

ON THE MENU ...someone can’t decide between California and Florida but you know they mean a drink, not where they’re going to relocate. — Mike M.’re prepared because you know Luigi’s is ‘cash only’ before you get the bill. — Chris F-C ...Galley Boy burgers still remind you of sneaking beer into the Gorge with your friends back in high school. — Byron D.’re still thinking about the tall, frosted, steel mixing container that contained the other half of your milkshake at the Oak Room at downtown O’Neils. — Chris F-C enjoy beers with Dogs and Frogs. — Brian B. know all the old major rubber companies by their nearby lunch spots — Goodyear had Thackers, Firestone had Clousers and General Tire had New Era. — Janet M.



...your father was a blimp rigger in the hangar at Goodyear Aircraft. — Glenna H.S.

...your favorite teen hangout was the top of the old, abandoned B.F. Goodrich building. — Heather

...your mother served Beachcomber’s and pilaf at Nick Yanko’s in Highland Square. — Gary D. can identify most of the streets in the LeBron James Beats commercial. — Mike M.

...your parents retired from the Lawson Milk Co. — Glenna H.S. actually know someone named Firestone or Herberich. — Adam

...your parents bought you your first beer while having lunch at Primo’s Deli. — Heather know about The East, Summit, Gala, Starlight, Blue Sky, Magic City. — Jay P.

ACADEMIC STUDIES saw the Rolling Stones live at the Rubber’s not ‘Akron U,’ it’s ‘Da U’.

— Pat M.

| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

Bowl back in the day.


Kept trying to work “Scarborough Fair” into a headline.

...the BJ sign atop the Akron Beacon Journal lined up outside West Point Market at the building won you points playing the Alphabet end of the year for one last Killer Brownie and Game in the car. — Elizabeth to load up on grocery items you could probably have found elsewhere for cheaper, purely can properly pronounce Buchtel. for nostalgia. — Pamela K. — Doug O.'ve been laid off by the University of Akron after Scott Scarborough know what a Big Barney is. — Brian H. — Ronald W.M. became President.


...your bowl trophy holds more potatoes than your school has bowl wins. — Bobby B.

— Wade L.’re still chasing that sledding high from Hawkins Hill. — Adam


Asked Don Plusquellic for directions to the bathroom.


Thought LeBron was picking up the tab.


Got mad at a car driving on the Towpath, realized it was the Innerbelt.


Ordered a salad at Luigi’s with “extra cheese.”


Underestimated Cadillac Hill.


Invested in “Moneypenny for Mayor” shirts and signs.


the agenda

Op-Ed How defunding Planned Parenthood hurts Akron’s already ‘abysmal’ infant mortality rates by Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) In Ohio, more babies die before their first birthday than in all but three other states. With premature birth, low birthweight, and sleep related deaths cited as the top three culprits, Ohio’s alarming infant mortality crisis shows few signs of slowing.

federal grant money to essential life saving health care programs and procedures.

Even worse, the infant death disparity is even worse for Black babies. In 2013, Ohio ranked led the nation in deaths of Black babies before their first birthday.

visits right here in Akron where the Planned Parenthood clinic sees more patients than any other site in the state.

The rate of infant mortality in the city of Akron is equally abysmal. Akron communities in the 44307 and 44320 zip codes have two of the highest infant mortality rates in the state, and country. Instead of confronting the issue head-on, politicians in Columbus continue to put politics ahead of people. The latest example of this occurred last week when the House voted to send House Bill 294, an extreme, partisan piece of legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood to the governor. The GOP-controlled House's passage of House Bill 294 comes amidst a nationwide Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood after heavily edited, politically motivated videos surfaced appearing to show the organization discussing the sale of fetal tissue for research. The videos have since been widely discredited and the video’s instigators were recently indicted by a grand jury on felony charges. In Ohio, two Republican-led investigations into Ohio's Planned Parenthood showed the organization's activities are only in furtherance of women's access to comprehensive healthcare. Republican legislators touted two amendments added to House Bill 294 as measures that will help reduce Ohio’s infant mortality rate. The amendments provide no new funding and simply shift around existing monies for infant mortality. The amendments amount to using a Band-Aid to cover up a gunshot wound. But Band-Aids don’t change the serious damage that House Bill 294 still does to tens of thousands of at-risk women by stripping away


Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive healthcare to some 80,000 patients each year, in Ohio, including over 13,000 patient

By defunding Planned Parenthood, the state is defunding vital infant mortality prevention programs, along with sex education programs, HIV/AIDS testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings and domestic violence education programs. Furthermore, this legislations stands to limit funding to local health departments, hospitals and other organizations that partner with Planned Parenthood to provide valuable community resources. As the primary provider for many low-income women, Planned Parenthood plays a crucial role in the effort to address the infant mortality crisis. Planned Parenthood has the skills, knowledge and expertise to help address racial health disparities and educate new and expecting mothers on best practices to prevent tragic infant fatalities, while also providing contraceptive options to women, as adequate birth spacing helps lower the risk of infant mortality. Women in Ohio deserve to have full access to all their healthcare needs, including reproductive services. This includes the freedom to make decisions for themselves and their families without first seeking the approval of Ohio legislature. The Ohio General Assembly is spending far too much time vilifying Planned Parenthood and politicizing attempts to defund them. The legislature needs to get back to the basics getting people back to work, providing for the safety and welfare our citizens, and creating an environment of opportunity for all Ohioans. Defunding Planned Parenthood for political gain won't get us there and it won’t reduce our infant mortality rate.

Music Festival Checklist Bring Guitar Pack Camper Van Bring AAA Card

Hit the Road & Rock on

March 2015-March 2016


the agenda

How it Began August 7, 2013 Dr. Luis Proenza announces he will retire as UA president on June 30, 2014. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reported that, at a time when UA’s budget called for eliminated 100 positions, the trustees approved a salary increase for Proenza from $425,000 to $500,000 a year. That figure would continue through a year-long sabbatical, followed by a decade-long appointment as the “Trustees’ Chair in Higher Education and the Economy” with a $325,000 annual salary, for which he’d raise $1 million to support the position.

January 2014 Dr. Beverly Warren hired at a salary of $450,000 to become president of Kent State University, which has an enrollment of more than 41,000 students systemwide.

May 8, 2014 Former Executive Vice President for Student Success Jim Tressel withdrew his name from consideration and the UA Board of Trustees announced Dr. Scott Scarborough would be named the 16th president of the University of Akron. Tressel announced as the next president of Youngstown State University.

July 1, 2014 Scarborough, Warren and Tressel begin in their official capacity at each respective university.

From name changes and olive jars to layoffs and secret deals by Chris Horne Sometimes, it helps to take a step back and examine how far you’ve come, even in as little time as a year. Here’s a look at the most recent year in the life of the University of Akron, its trustees and the president they hired to run the place.

l March 11, 2015 News leaks that President Scott Scarborough and the Board of Trustees is considering a name change to the University of Akron.

l April 15, 2015 After UA announces $50 per credit hour online GenEd Core Pilot Program, the presidents of Cuyahoga Community College, Lorain Co. Community College, Lakeland Community College and Stark State objected to Scarborough’s claim that it makes UA a better value than community colleges.

Polling said they would support the country switching to the metric system (23 percent) than said they supported UA’s branding as “Ohio’s Polytechnic University” (22 percent).

l June 16, 2015 UA spends $50,000 to sponsor Cavs shirts at Game 6 of playoffs.

l June 29, 2015 Zips football garners lowest attendance in the nation. Scarborough says he wouldn’t have built the $65M stadium, debt payment for which accounts for $4.3M million of the program’s $8M annual budget.

l July 2, 2015 Scarborough unveils plan for military-style Corps of Cadets program led by retired Army Lt. Col. Bradley Harvey with a salary of $100,000.

l July 6, 2015 NEOMG reports UA is charging upperclassmen an additional $50 credit hour fee, which upsets students and state lawmakers alike after the latter had voted to freeze tuition.

l July 31, 2015 NEOMG reporter Karen Farkas uncovers $950,000 spent on renovations to UA’s president residence — including a nowfamous decorative olive jar that cost $556.40 — despite earlier reports from the university that the upgrades were budgeted at $515,000. In December 2014, Farkas reported UA spent more than $25,000 on hotels for the Scarborough family during renovations.

l August 1, 2015 The Devil Strip is first to report the story behind UA’s decision to give $843,000 to an inexperienced startup, TrustNavigator, over contracting with InsideTrack, a proven company in the field of student success coaching.

l May 14, 2015 The Knight Foundation gives $5 million for a partnership between UA and DANCECleveland to launch a national center for choreography.

l May 15, 2015 Scarborough announces rebranding campaign to position the University of Akron as “Ohio’s Polytechnic University.” UA later refused to release marketing studies they spent $111,000 to get, paid from $250,000 unrestricted grant from the Knight Foundation.

l May 20, 2015 The presidents of Kent State, Youngstown State, Cleveland State and Northeast Ohio Medical University write letter rebuffing Scarborough’s City Club speech prediction that those institutions would likely close within the next 50 years.

l June 9, 2015 Scarborough tells ABJ, “Rest assured there are going to be some cuts proposed on June 10 that involve the athletics program.”

l June 10, 2015

l August 3, 2015 Rubber City Clothing offers “Fire the Scar” shirts for sell, proceeds from which later were donated to the University of Akron’s John Puglia Art Scholarship fund.

l July 10, 2015 Scarborough says the university has a “$60 million financial problem.” University officials begin laying off 161 staff as part of $40 million in budget cuts that eliminated 213 positions and the baseball program, outsourced student success coaches and dining hall services, severely limited — some said closed — UA Press and EJ Thomas and then functionally reduced the Office of Multicultural Development to events and programming after letting go of former diversity chief Lee Gill’s staff and restructuring.

l July 20, 2015

Trustees approve $484 million budget which includes $10.4 “new initiatives fund,” freezes tuition and foretells of success

Faculty tell the administration to consider taking budget cuts from the $8 million football program whose coaching staff

coaches, layoffs and significant spending cuts but without many details.

instead received bonuses.

l June 11, 2015 Director of athletics Tom Wistrcil resigns to take a new position in Dallas.

l June 11, 2015 More Ohioans surveyed by Public Policy

l July 27, 2015 Trustees rescind the upperclassmen fee; Scarborough cites $4 million in unexpected funding from state and “expected savings” from retirement plan systems switch.

l August 10, 2015 The university spends $45,000 to sponsor hospitality area at Bridgestone Invitational, according to NEOMG report, which also notes the “A to Zip” program hosted by Larry Burns costs $500 a week.

l August 10, 2015 The Devil Strip reports UA faculty are concerned Dr. Todd Rickel, who bounced around the for-profit education industry before landing with University of Akron, falsified his curriculum vitae when applying for the position of Dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology. Scarborough calls major changes in Rickel’s CV “careless mistakes.”

l August 12, 2015 Protestors rally outside meeting of UA’s Board of Trustees. Scarborough and board chair Jon Pavloff say, “Mistakes were made.”

l August 13, 2015 Despite widespread reports in mainstream media, LeBron James does not commit financially to UA scholarships for qualified students in his I Promise program. The


agenda partnership between James and UA is similar to an existing, funded deal with Akron Public Schools, except for renaming the College of Education for the LeBron James Family Foundation in exchange for the star’s appearance in university commercials.

l September 10, 2015 New marching band uniforms omits Akron. Noted boosters revolt.

l October 23, 2015 A report says donations to the University of Akron Foundation fell by 42 percent for a drop of $1.34 million over the previous year.

l August 14, 2015 Former UA President Luis Proenza defends his legacy in statement

l August 15, 2015 The Devil Strip reports claims that Scarborough manipulated a search committee to hire the Honors College dean he hired at the University of Toledo, Dr. Lakeesha Ransom, to become UA’s new Honors College dean.

l August 17-18, 2015 The administration reinstates two positions at UA Press, which had been cut by the administration during layoffs. A day later, UA named Larry Williams its new athletic director after three other candidates withdrew.

l August 26, 2015 Former Akron mayor Don Plusquellic is caught peeing on a tree in a UA parking lot.

l August 26-28, 2015 The Devil Strip is first to report Scarborough’s ideas for a “grand entrance” that would run through the field where the baseball team used to play, revealing other reasons than the “$60 million financial problem” for the $650,000 annual program being cut. That “symbolic” gesture, in the president’s words, was followed by the university funneling $700,000 more in scholarship money into the $8 million football program under new NCAA rules because, Scarborough explained, “...frankly we needed to make additional investments in football.”

l August 31, 2015 Enrollment at UA declined 3 percent but the freshman class grew 5.3 percent from the previous year after applications rose 16 percent.

l September 1, 2015 Scarborough signs contract with Academic Partnerships to help UA develop, market and manage an accelerated 8-week RN-toBSN online course with at least six starts a year, starting in Spring 2016. As of print, sources say this program hasn’t begun due to faculty push back in the College of Health Professions.

l September 5, 2015 UA launches “Are You Out There?” ad campaign that runs three months at approximately $900,000 cost.

l September 8, 2015 UA Law School gets $2 million gift for building renovations.


interview with The Devil Strip before meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama who was visiting the University of Akron with LeBron James at a ceremony for I Promise program students.

l September 15, 2015 Slides released by the university show mock-ups of facilities and football uniforms featuring Ohio Tech name and logos. Scarborough and Pavloff say the name will not change.

l October 27, 2015 TrustNavigator founder Thomas Roulston III comes under scruntiny by the Ohio Dept. of Commerce for not telling investors about $342,000 in loans used to prop up his insolvent investment advising firm.

l September 28, 2015 A survey of UA’s faculty union membership taken by 450 respondents revealed 70 percent had “no confidence” in Scarborough, the trustees and the plan to resolve the university’s “$60 million financial problem.”

l September 29, 2015 University officials announce plan to hire 55 full-time — both tenure track and nontenure track — faculty after UA lost 43 faculty and administrators through attrition.

l October 2, 2015 The Devil Strip is first to report the university’s efforts to launch “One World Schoolhouse,” an on-campus K-12 school where students in the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education could learn to teach while, Scarborough wrote in an email, either co-founder Jeff Hoffman or current EXL Center resource director Ian Schwarber could serve as headmaster “until the school grows in enrollment.”

l October 4, 2015 Scarborough hosts town hall with students, who are upset that they couldn’t directly ask the president questions but instead had them filtered through text. ABJ recaps Scarborough’s comments about One World Schoolhouse at forum.

l October 8, 2015 The Devil Strip reports Scarborough made a failed bid in 1990 for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives before running the local Republican Party in Austin, Texas, which added anti-gay language to its platform under his leadership.

l October 14, 2015 Protesters escorted out for disrupting Board of Trustees meeting after more than 100 demonstrated outside.

l October 20-21, 2015 Scarborough gives his first State of the University speech, unveiling ambitions for UA to have national and international reach. The next day, he sat for a 90-minute

four-month contract is extended through June 30, 2016, paying him $12,000 a month for “community relations, donor cultivation and real estate strategy.” He’s paid through the University of Akron Foundation.

l January 1, 2016 Former Summa CEO Marty Hauser signs sixmonth consulting contract worth $12,000 a month for donor development, community relations and academic program initiatives. Fred Wright, the former Urban League president who was fired by its board, signed a six-month deal for $8,000 a month for recruitment and mentoring African American males. Cooper is paid through the foundation while Wright is paid through the university.

l January 28, 2016

l November 18, 2015 The Devil Strip is first to report the university’s request for state funding to demolish historic St. Paul Episcopal Church and parts of Quaker Square while also trying to get the city to pay $8.7 million for moving expenses and renovations in building swap to facilitate Akron’s Bits and Atoms maker space in Polsky.

l November 29, 2015 Seven area business leaders sign off on an ad in ABJ supporting Scarborough and urging the community to come together. Student publication The Buchtelite learns the $5000 ad was paid for by the UA Foundation, not the business leaders. An oppositional group runs a series of ads with dozens of signatures from community leaders.

l November 30, 2015 Akron business leaders form Executive Advisory Council to help guide Scarborough. Group meets once and is not expected to gather again.

l December 4, 2015

The Devil Strip is first to report Scarborough quietly working on deal to create extended satellite network with partnership between Higher Education Partners and ITT Tech, an embattled for-profit chain of colleges.

l February 2, 2016 Officials announce a $3 million donation to the honors college, which will be named for Dr. Gary B. & Pamela S. Williams. That pledge brings the couple’s total giving to $10 million including $7 million for a lecture series endowment started in 2008.

l February 4, 2016 Faculty Senate votes 50-2 “no confidence” in Scarborough as president. The next day, a representative group of the university’s department chairs and school directors issue their own letter condemning the administration.

l February 9, 2016 The Devil Strip reports UA trustees are weighing contract extension for Scarborough despite “no confidence” vote and the lack of formal evaluation.

l March 1-2, 2016 UA’s faculty union, AAUP-Akron, holds strike authorization vote after negotiations with the administration breakdown.

The Devil Strip reports email exchange between Scarborough and VP Larry Burns contradicts public “no name change” pledge as they discuss Pavloff’s desire for a “literal political campaign” to change the name of the university by January 2016.

l December 9, 2015 Protesters are told by UA police they are not allowed to make so much noise that they can be heard inside the meeting room where the trustees are gathered. The board later announces Provost Mike Sherman has been moved to the research foundation and general counsel Ted Mallo would be retiring.

l December 15, 2015 Local real estate consultant Bob Cooper’s

MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3 /

THE Devil Strip |


the agenda


Akron’s Wonderfully Historic & Weird West Hill Neighborhood words and photos by Jason Segedy

Despite the technological advances of the modern world, such as the fact that I could show up in Tokyo 24 hours from now; or that I could send a text message to a friend in Australia in less time than it will take you to read this sentence; we human beings still exist

personal level; and regardless of whether we are completely conscious of them, they shape us as we go about our daily lives.

in time and space.

and historic, and weird, which means that it is a perfect microcosm of a city that is most certainly all of those things.

West Hill has always been one of my favorite neighborhoods in Akron. It is wonderful,

As such, history and geography will continue to exert a powerful influence on our lives. This is true whether we realize it or not, and no matter This tiny residential neighborhood, which is how much we might have hated studying them one of the oldest in the city, is home to an as subjects in high school. Our community. My neighborhood. Our history. It’s not a linguistic accident that we use these possessive pronouns when we describe place, and space, and time. The geographic and historic attributes of the places that we live and love continue to resonate with us on a deeply

astounding number of historic sites, interesting oddities, and culturally-significant places. It serves as a cultural hearth, being the original home of both Akron’s Irish Catholic community and its Jewish community. It later became one of the city’s premier residential neighborhoods, as the wealthy began moving up (literally) and

United Way of Summit County

westward (because the wind blows toward the east here) to escape the air pollution and unpleasant odors generated by the rubber and tire industry.

Intrigued? I was. So I wandered around the other day and took a lot of pictures. After that, I sat down and decided to write about what I saw.

West Hill is a mishmash of the kinds of weird,

I’d like to invite you to read on and join me on

quirky, and incongruous things that people like us (yes, I’m dragging you in as a co-conspirator) cannot get enough of: • Old churches and synagogues • Old gothic cemeteries • Insanely steep brick streets

a photographic journey through this amazing neighborhood.

• LeBron James • Ancient looking stone steps that go seemingly nowhere • One of the best bike trails in the U.S. • Thomas Edison • A gargantuan freeway that carries no traffic • An apartment building with a swastika on it • Devil Strips (whatever the hell those are)

______________________________________________ NOTE: Jason Segedy, who is now the city of Akron’s Director of Planning and Urban Development, first wrote this for his blog, “Notes from the Underground,” in September 2014, but I recently stumbled across it and wanted to give more folks a chance to experience the same delight I had as I scrolled through the photo tour of West Hill he gives in the full post, which you can find at So we’re running an excerpt as an excuse to expose a few more folks to this particular and Jason’s wonderful blog in general. If you have a heart for Akron, you’ll seldom find more thoughtful posts than his. Since a post of his ran in the very first issue we printed, it only seemed fitting to include him here too. - Chris H.

United Way’s Imagination Library provides free books from birth to age five and improves early childhood literacy across Summit County. To donate or volunteer, go to UWSUMMIT.ORG




| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3


the arts




Winner of the 2014 Ninth Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, is now preparing for her Carnegie Hall debut, stopping in Akron along the way. She'll be joined by pianist HyunSoo Kim, performing by contemporary composers.

FUZE! Sunday, March 6 at 3pm Guzzetta Recital Hall University of Akron Tickets:


MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3 /

THE Devil Strip |


the arts

í ë

The palette: March events An overview of arts events happening in Akron

î å

í Big Love 2016: Building Bridges March 12th at Summit Artspace, 11 am-10 pm, After party at Musica Big Love is a yearly family-friendly cultural festival that brings together artists, performers and other engaged locals to help foster a vibrant Akron community. Highlights include art installations, live performances, food and community engagement workshops. Admission is free, though donations are encouraged. ‹ Violinist Jinjoo Cho at Western Reserve

by Andrew Leask


Beethoven. A pre-concert lecture begins at 6:30 pm. Tickets are available through


March 13th at Christ Episcopal Church Since graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Jinjoo Cho has traveled the country and the world, collecting prizes and acclaim for her virtuosic violin performances. For the second time, she will headline a concert as Music from the Western Reserve’s Featured Young Artist. Cho will be accompanied by HyunSoo Kim, staff pianist at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Kent State University. Tickets are available for purchase at The Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson, as well as at the door on the night of the concert. Learn more at

‹ The Man Who Came to Dinner March 17- April 3 at Weathervane Playhouse Though it takes place in the fictional town of Mesalia, Ohio, this play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart could easily have been set in Akron. The three-act comedy, which originally premiered in 1939, tells the story of a meddlesome houseguest who overstays his welcome in the home of a wealthy factory owner. Tickets are available online at


‹ Wandering Aesthetics Storytelling March 20th at ACAMP Wandering Aesthetics and the Akronist invite the public to tell a true story at their monthly

é å Akron ArtWalk March 5th at Downtown Akron, 5-10 pm Enjoy Akron’s monthly celebration of local art throughout the downtown area with free trolley service provided by the city. And don’t forget to check out Crafty Mart’s Pop Up Market at Summit Art Space featuring food and drink by Western Fruit Basket and Thirsty Dog Brewing, as well as handmade gifts by local artisans. It’s art! Plus walking!

é Flashdance: The Musical March 8-9th at EJ Thomas Hall, 7:30 pm Broadway in Akron brings to town the national tour of Flashdance: The Musical. Though reviewers haven’t always been kind to this story of a Pittsburgh welder/exotic dancer, this stage adaptation of the 1983 movie boasts catchy pop tunes, a talented cast, and tons of high-energy ’80s dance action. Tickets available through

ç Pinocchio (Ballet) March 5-6 at Akron Civic Theatre, 2 pm Presented as part of Ballet Excel Ohio’s 40th anniversary season, this retelling of the classic children’s story about a puppet brought to life by magic sets the action in 1930’s Akron.

è The Fantastic, Fruitylicious Shrimp Cocktail March 9th at Jilly’s Music Room, 7:30 pm Each month, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School does its part to keep Akron weird by bringing together cabaret acts and artistically inclined

The family-friendly show includes music by Gershwin, Tchaikovsky and Grieg, among others. For tickets and information, visit

locals for a highly unconventional life-drawing session. This month’s session features Cleveland burlesque performer Shrimp Cocktail, for a “celebration of tropical temptation.” Admission is $10.


| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

series, Full Circle Storytelling: An Open Mic for Community Storytellers. This month’s theme is “strong women,” but if you don’t have a story to tell, you can always sit back and enjoy the show. Admission is free. To register as a storyteller, email

ê 9th Annual Art & Ale March 11th at Akron Art Museum, 6 pm What would be the best beer pairing to complement a Warhol? Would William Sommer have preferred an IPA or a chocolate stout? You can ponder these questions and more as you wander the Akron Art Museum during its 9th annual Art & Ale, a showcase of Ohio’s best brews served alongside some tasty local cuisine. Come for the food and beer. Stay for the art— and also for the food and beer. Tickets available at

ì Barberton 4th Friday March 25th at Barberton Arts District, 5 pm The last weekend in March brings with it the second installment of downtown Barberton’s new monthly arts event, Barberton 4th Friday. The event, conceived by three high school seniors, combines live performances, food, art and promotional discounts by retailers on West Tuscarawas Avenue.

ë Joshua Bell & Academy of St. Martin in the Fields March 11th at EJ Thomas Hall, 7:30 pm Renowned violinist and conductor Joshua Bell joins the Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields chamber

î Freedom of Speech Tuesdays Every Tuesday at VE Poetry Cafe, 7 pm How do you make it clear that anything goes at a poetry reading? Give it the name “Freedom of Speech,” for starters. Stop by VE Poetry Café at 2539 Romig Road for open mic

ensemble for a world-class performance. The concert will include compositions by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Mozart and

poetry presented by Versified Expressions every Tuesday. Doors open at 7 pm, open mic starts at 8 pm. Admission is $7.


(Photo by Svetla Morrison)

the arts

The Future of Arts is Now

How ArtsNow and are shaping the area art community by Megan Combs the nonprofit is limited by budget constraints

about this project and these three high school

Executive Director Nicole Mullet between meetings, I bet she would talk your head

(and what business isn’t?). “We change things here and there as we’re able,” Rexroad said.

students in our April issue.

off about what her organization and its counterpart are doing for

“There are so many great ideas out there, it’s just a shame that we can’t do them all.”

In the last bit of our conversation, Mullet also mentioned the help county executives have

artists in the Akron area. I happened to catch her for a buzzy, caffeinated 15 minutes to

ArtsNow is also busy in Cuyahoga Falls and

given ArtsNow, including Mayor Dan Horrigan’s launch of the rotating art installation at his

get an update and tell you about some of the fantastic things coming down the pike.

Barberton, partnering with organizations to bring the community together around arts

office, County Executive Russ Pry’s continued arts advocacy and more.

// Megan thinks everyone could use a little more art in

and culture. ArtsNow is a nonprofit that aims to enrich the lives of Summit County residents through arts and culture. The organization has had its hands

In Cuyahoga Falls, Collide, which came into existence last month, is busy getting the

“Next up, we’re working on a comprehensive guide with our board of directors,” Mullet said. “ It’ll be a plan for how we’ll function going

in several events in the past, including the

conversation going about how the community

forward and it’ll outline our long-term plans as

creation of, Love the Arts in Cuyahoga Falls, PechaKucha and more.

can help artists thrive and succeed. Molly Hartong and Matt Weiss, both arts advocates

an organization. It’s a robust undertaking, but I’m very excited about it.”

And the future of the organization is bright.

in the city, are excited about working with ArtsNow to make this happen and also found

She added, “Stay tuned: We’re only just

“Looking back, one of the most surprising things, and one of my favorite things has been that SummitLive365 is helping artists find jobs and commissions,” Mullet said. “That alone has

success using SummitLive365 to promote their community events. “I found ArtsNow when researching arts organizations in Ohio,” Hartong said. “I was

made me the happiest I’ve been all year.”

trying to see what was being done in other cities to promote and engage the arts. I was is an interactive website where artists and creatives can create profiles to showcase their work and list upcoming events or work availability. Consumers can then search the site to find arts events happening in their area or even list a classified ad if they are looking for something specific.

so excited to see that we had a newly formed county advocate.”

All this in 15 minutes? Yup.

their lives.



f you’re lucky enough to catch ArtsNow

68 individual artists 65 34 349 900

organizations venues user accounts hits per week


Race at the Raffle 2016

Hartong is a graphic designer, but more importantly considers herself an advocate of the arts. She said ArtsNow and SummitLive365 are important for the county as a whole because of the connections they’re already helping build.

The site was launched in October, and according to website consultant Benjamin Rexroad, the “[ArtsNow creates] connections and support site averages about 900 hits per week. “Classifieds seem to be our biggest draw I think, in part, because we’ve been posting a lot of job opportunities,” Rexroad said. “I try to find only the best for our artists in Summit County. When we post one of these, it can get as many as 350 (or more than) hits in one day.” Mullet added that the team will place a bigger emphasis on the classifieds this year and explained that they were a last-minute addition to the site. “We weren’t even sure we were going to use them,” Mullet said. “But we ended up putting the section up and hoping for the best. When you get artists in the community working, that’s pretty special.”

for the arts and culture community, not just in Akron, but county-wide,” Hartong said. “For example, ArtsNow saw the need for what we were trying to do in Cuyahoga Falls and has been a huge advocate and invaluable resource.” Weiss, who is also a graphic artist, agreed. “I think they really help create awareness for the arts to the community as a whole and provide a platform for artists to talk about what they are doing,” Weiss said. “I have heard of artists finding work through SL365. So that definitely shows the power of connecting people that Molly talked about.”

In Barberton, ArtsNow is helping three Barberton High School students and the Barberton Arts and Entertainment District launch Fourth Friday, an event that highlights Rexroad keeps a running list of the updates that artists and art opportunities in Barberton. he would like to make to the site, but adds that Stay tuned because we plan to have a story


Feelin’ Lucky? April 9th at The Tangier

Event begins at 5:30 - Races start at 6:00 Open Bar - Live & Silent Auctions Info & Tickets at

MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3 /

THE Devil Strip |


the arts

A Year in Review The Arts

A roundup of arts happenings you may have missed. by Bronlynn Thurman and Chris Horne

Given the controversy and big changes in the city of Akron’s Mayor’s Office, not to mention on campus at the University of Akron, it’d be easy to overlook what a big year it was for local artists and art organizations. But that’s why we’re here. We don’t want you to miss anything, so here’s a quick look back at just some of the amazing artsrelated news that’s happened since the first issue of The Devil Strip hit stands.

ArtsNow and are born

AAAA and Summit Artspace restructured After its board took a long look at itself, the Akron Area Artists Association undertook

PICTUED ABOVE: TOP ROW: Akron Civic Center. SECOND ROW: Summit Art Space; Winner of the Akron Art Prize, Frederick Shortridge. THIRD ROW: Mural by artist, Nathan Mayfield #LovetheWall; Summit Choral Sociaety. FOURTH ROW: Ro3 Pop Up! Gallery, November 2015; Mural by Steve Ehret at the Land of Plenty for #LovetheWall. FIFTH ROW: Rubber City Shakespeare Company

a major restructuring so it could deliver the services it does best while helping local artists where they need it most. The result is a renewed focus on the Summit Artspace as an community arts center by way of arts incubator, housing galleries, workshops, artists’ studios, Rubber City Prints, the Akron Shakespeare Company and Crafty Mart, among others. To take their work a step further, they rebranded with a new logo and hired a new executive director, Joanne Green, who is pushing the Artspace in new directions. Since then, they’ve opened up areas for more artist studios as well as coworking spaces. They’ve also been bringing in more programing and partnering with local art groups. — BT

In January 2014, the GAR Foundation joined Knight to fund an arts and culture assessment of Summit County. Among the study’s findings: There was no central location for information about local arts and culture. While that told us there was a need for this magazine, there was a host of other concerns that a band of artists, creatives, art lovers and organizations came together to address, which led them to form a nonprofit arts advocacy group called ArtsNow. Phase one includes SummitLive365. com, the aforementioned central location for arts and culture info that you may have noticed is advertised on the back cover of the magazine. But the fledgling website has done more than light the way to cool events for the local culturati. It’s starting to help artists find jobs, gigs and commissions too. On top of that, the organization, led by the indefatigable Nicole Mullet and fueled with renewable Benjamin Rexroad energy, is helping cities and towns around Summit County build up their arts scenes, which they’ll then connect to provide


the arts reciprocal support for each other while also collaborating to draw in a larger audience instead of thinking they have to fight over the die-hards. — CH

Knight has already spent with specific grants to support the Akron Art Museum, Lock 3, Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Civic, among others, including the formation of a national center for dance in partnership with The University of Akron and DANCECleveland. The second round of the arts challenge opens up April 4 - May 2 so now is the time to hone your ideas. Visit for more. — CH

UA Press revived

(Tree Project rendering)

Coloring in Akron’s empty spaces Akron got a little easier on the eyes over the last year when some new mural and public arts projects went up. One of the most notable is the #LovetheWall project, funded by a DAPsponsored Kickstarter campaign. Headed by artist Nathan Mayfield, this colorful mural spans the South Broadway wall near the Metro RTA Transit Center. Kickstarter helped another local

The University of Akron Press was a victim of last summer’s layoffs and budget cuts, but after public outcry — amid the administration’s assertion that, despite no staff, the press would go on — the university restored two of the three positions that had been eliminated. Good thing for poetry lovers, in particular, because the Akron Poetry Prize is beloved, providing poets a path to publication. You can read more about the “new” UA Press and the latest winners, including Sandra Simonds’ “Further Problems With Pleasure,” by visiting uapresspoetry — BT

artist, Michael W. Marras, get his Tree Project off the ground. Originally funded in November 2014, it started to bear fruit in December 2015 when the metal trunk appeared outside the wall of Hazel Tree Interiors on W. Market. (Ed. note: The Devil Strip’s local art + newsbox project was also funded on Kickstarter and is, finally, wrapping up! - Chris) Last summer, Howard Parr, director of the Civic, and Paul Nagel, co-owner of Nagel Advertising, came up with the Devo art installation by the historic theatre using Janet Macoska’s classic photo of the band on a break from shooting a video. Devo co-founder Jerry Casale spoke at the unveiling (at which a troop of Booji Boy-masked folks also paraded) of the enlarged photo, which resides in the collection at the Akron Art Museum. Our cherry on top is the colorful, partially-3D mural that went up on the building that houses Land of Plenty. The project was a collaboration between Land of Plenty owner (and artist) Kristi Wall and the University of Akron’s Arts LIFT program, led by art professor Elisa Gargarella. Wall also enlisted the help of Canton artist, Steve Ehret, and together they (along with UA students) developed a beautiful mural that can be seen from the street.— BT

The New World Performance Lab, with funding from the Knight Foundation, has been rehearsing and producing a trilogy of Akroninspired plays called “The Devil’s Milk.” Each play focuses on a different time in Akron history but all deal with the rubber industry. The first of the final products, “The Death of a Man” (review, pg. 17), enjoyed a run through Feb. 20. For more information about upcoming shows, visit Rubber City Shakespeare Company has spent the last year putting out some great works. This includes an Akron set “Macbeth,” “The Twelve Dates of Christmas,” “Richard III” and “As You Like It.” Coming up from them will be “A Comedy of Errors” April 1-17 and “Women Beware Women” May 27-June 12. For more info, visit

Full Circle Storytelling series. It is a monthly series that engages the community and gives them an outlet to let their stories be heard. Visit for more information. — BT

(Photo courtesy of Ro3 facebook page)

Welcome to the new galleries and centers This last year, we had a plethora of new galleries opening up. Ro3 in downtown Akron has opened its doors the latter part of last year. The gallery participated in the Akron Art Prize and is currently hosting a Kickstarter. The Akron Center, also known as ACAMP, opened its doors last year and has been providing the area with an all-in-one art school. Hive Mind, tucked away on West Exchange, takes a DIY approach to the arts scene and mixes it with the ethos of indie music’s affinity for house shows. — BT

Restructure of Summit Choral Society New life has been breathed into the Summit Choral Society with the introduction of their artistic director, Marie Bucoy-Calavan and a shift in direction. They restructured their board, engage with the community and are trying to balance tradition and relevancy. To read Roger Riddle’s profile of Marie, visit — BT

Akron Civic and Playhouse saves the day When the University of Akron laid off EJ Thomas Hall staff in July last year, many were concerned about the performance space, which Akronites had come to think of as a communal space. While the facility is slated for maintenance and remains available for rent to community organizations, some of the best news to emerge was when the Akron Civic Theatre and Playhouse Square stepped in to rescue the Broadway in Akron series from its unknown fate with a two-year agreement. — BT

The first winners won’t be announced until March 15 but the impact of the Knight Foundation including Akron in its Arts


Theatre Works

Wandering Aesthetics has consistently produced interactive programing year round. Last year was the launch of their partnership with The Akronist, ASCPL and the development of the

The Knight Foundation brings Art Challenge, national dance center to Akron

Challenge is already huge. While the Knight Cities Challenge awards $5 million across the nation to improve the 26 cities in its network, the Arts Challenge only exists in three other locations — Miami, Detroit and St. Paul. So Akron’s first 58 finalists are in select company as the challenge pumps $3 million into the arts scene here with matching grants over the next three years. That’s on top of the millions

project involving the Akron community. By downloading the Sounds of Akron app, Akronites can record and submit their sounds to be added to a larger piece. It will be the first crowd-sourced symphony in the nation and will debut at EJ Thomas Hall on April 16, 2016. Find more information at — BT

Sounds of Akron In 2015, we saw the launch of The Akron Symphony Orchestra project called Sounds of Akron. Funded by the Knight Foundation, the Sounds of Akron is a collaborative

Akron Art Museum turns the city Inside/Out Whatever you think about art museums, chances are good you at least assume the art stays inside behind closed doors. Well, that’s exactly what the Akron Art Museum decided to change in 2015, putting 30 reproductions out in public spaces in six neighborhoods throughout the community with the Knightfunded Inside/Out program. Organizers didn’t stop at just hanging art; they held community meetings, hosted walking tours and shared the museum experience with Akronites who otherwise may have never seen these works. That’s the good news. The best news is that they’re doing it again in 2016 but this time with 40 works. For more info about Inside/Out or any of the excellent programs at AAM, visit — CH

Akron Art Prize grows and proves In November, the Downtown Akron Partnership announced the winner of the Akron Art Prize. Frederick Shortridge took home the grand prize of $5,000 for his piece “Afro Historical Family Tree” and the honor of having his work displayed at the Akron Art Museum. Runners up received $1,000 each and include Michael Marras for his piece “A Salvageable Future,” Brian Parson for “It All Ends Where It Begins,” Tom Baldwin for “The Last Rhino Symbiosis,” J David Norton for “Evening Sunset,” Bill Lynn for “Demise of a Legend” and April Couch for “Mandala Table.” View the pieces on the DAP website at Organizers are currently looking at ways to continue improving the art prize so stay tuned for updates. — BT

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Photos courtesy of New World Performance Lab

the arts



Rotating Arts Gets Its Start Artists Megan Shane and Jessica Lofthus are the first to be featured in revolving art installation in the mayor’s office by Noor Hindi photos by Shane Wynn If you ask artist Jessica Lofthus to tell you about her childhood, she’ll boldly reply, “Metal shops, machines, guns, racing motorcycles, and making stuff.” It’s not much different for best friend Megan Shane.

which is made of 100 percent local, recycled stainless steel, Jessica did her “Get ‘er done” dance while remarking on their long-term friendship and the fact that they “share a brain.”

On Feb. 8, Jessica and Megan finished their art installation at the Akron Mayor’s Office. Both of them are the first to install their pieces as part of a new revolving art exhibit.

With both their fathers being welders, both women had interesting childhoods that have contributed to their strong artistic abilities.

wood feathers that were meticulously cut out and feature beautiful dimensions. The two artist’s contrasting use of texture and color truly heighten their pieces. With Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan embracing

Despite their styles differing aesthetically, Megan’s steel work alongside Jessica’s vibrant paintings work together in unique ways, which is one of the many reasons the two frequently show with each other. “Our pieces tend to complement each other rather than compete with each other,” says Megan. Alongside photographer Shane Wynn, I had the opportunity to meet with Jessica and Megan as they were hanging up their pieces. I quickly noticed their humorous, yet thoughtful approach to work. “We’re very critical of each other’s work, but lovingly so,” says Jessica. After hanging up Megan’s “Tree of Life” piece,

the arts community and offering local creatives a spot to showcase their work for 90 days, this could be a great opportunity for Akron’s growing and thriving artistic community.

“Most young ladies don’t grow up in metal shops. [And] when your father is a fabricator and designer, if [a piece] is not structurally sound, if it’s not aesthetically perfect, it’s not done,” says Jessica. “This is partly why I think we’re different than a lot of artists because we grew up in fabrication, and in many ways, neither of us ever consider a piece done because we secretly think our fathers are always watching.” While Shane followed me around and took photos of my cat shirt, I marveled at the three-foot “Tree of Life” as Megan described her style. “I basically get to paint with light using grades of texture,” says Megan. Alongside Megan’s “Tree of Life” sit two of Jessica’s pieces, which feature vividly painted

You can check out more of Jessica’s work by visiting, and more of Megan’s work at MeganShaneArt.


Photos courtesy of New World Performance Lab

the arts

The Wheels are Coated with Blood A review and commentary on The Death of a Man: The Devil’s Milk, Part 1 by Bronlynn Thurman

Everyone knows that the veins of Akron originally flowed with rubber. It was both our bread and our butter. It fed, clothed and kept us mobile. Its history runs deep, and with the death of an age we struggle to find a new way to define ourselves. We are now “The City of Invention,” a city that knows how to build from the pieces and parts left to it. Yet, as the years tick by and our love of community continues to flourish, we forget to examine and criticize the past that led us here. “The Death of a Man: The Devil’s Milk, Part 1” is the brainchild of Colombian actor and director Jairo Cuesta. Through a one-man play, he tells the story of a man from the Uitoto Tribe found in the upper Amazon area. Over the course of an hour we are led through his life, the meeting of the white man and the destruction of the tribe. Cuesta is a stellar actor who captivates his audience with his vivid storytelling. The setting of the play spills out towards the audience allowing us to immerse ourselves in the experience. The language, song and dance wraps around you while the world outside drops away. This is his story, and it deserves to be heard. We all know the time of the rubber barons was two-fold. The industry was booming, but pollution was rampant. People were worked to the bone, and the segregation along economic lines was very real. There’s more to the story.


It’s time to think beyond our city to where this line started, and that was the goal of the New World Performance Lab. In an attempt to engage the community, NWPL had a talkback which allowed the audience to ask questions and further learn about our history. We discussed the difficulties surrounding portraying minority groups accurately. Cuesta and the director James Slowiak got the chance to travel to the Amazon to meet with the Uitoto people of the Tacana. They presented a piece of the play to them and in addition to the approval to tell their story, they were also given tips on how to make it more real.

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Akron's Hidden Gems

There was also a discussion about how this type of history is not taught in schools and that the voices of the people negatively affected were not heard. By creating this play, we are now able to put a face to the people who were so viciously decimated for the sake of furthering our economy. Akron is in a rebirth period with a new focus on community love and redefining ourselves, we should not hide from our past. Instead of it absorbing the blame and feeling bad, we should be turn a critical eye to it and figure out how to fix the issues that are present in our lives. As Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.”

A quality community cafe in South Akron that brings people from different backgrounds together

// As an elf, Bronlynn is intrigued by the history of the humans. She uses plays to address the lack of connection felt by traditional history retelling. Follow her at @_bront_ on IG and Twitter.

Visit us for breakfast or lunch Monday through Friday • 7am to 3pm 798 Grant St., Akron, Ohio | (330) 375-1991

AKRON ART MUSEUM • THROUGH APRIL 24, 2016 THROWBACK THURSDAYS: Macramé inspired by NEO Geo Thursday, March 17 • 7:00 – 9:00 pm $15 museum members / $20 non-members Grab a fancy cocktail and a friend and de-stress with a fun, monthly throwback art activity. These evenings are just for adults. Admission includes one signature cocktail and all crafting supplies for this artist-led experience. Register online:

ARTISTS’ DIALOGUE: GIANNA COMMITO, ERIK NEFF, AMY SINBONDIT AND AMY YOES Thursday, March 31 • 6:30 pm • FREE Join three NEO Geo artists and New York artist Amy Yoes for a conversation on the role of geometric abstraction in their artistic practices.

GALLERY TOUR: PAUL O’KEEFFE Thursday, April 21 • 6:30 pm • FREE Join NEO Geo artist Paul O’Keeffe as he leads a tour of the museum’s collection. O’Keeffe brings his point of view as a former student of collection artist Anthony Caro. Clockwise from top left: Gianna Commito, Court (detail), 2014; Erik Neff, Shoreline (detail), 2015; Natalie Lanese, Depthless Without You (detail), 2015; Paul O’Keeffe, a distant silence IV (detail), 2013; Amy Sinbondit, Section Break (detail), 2011; Kristina Paabus, 3h (detail), 2012; Janice Lessman-Moss, #446 (detail), 2015; Michelle Marie Murphy, Eyeshadow: Going Out ‘n Back Again (detail), 2012.

NEO Geo is organized by the Akron Art Museum and generously supported by Myrna Berzon, Dianne and Herbert Newman, the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust and Harris Stanton Gallery. Media sponsorship is provided by WKSU 89.7 and Western Reserve PBS.

One South High | Akron, OH 44308 | 330.376.9185 |

culture & community CULTURE CLUB


The old, beautiful, historic and sound Akron Brewing Company building is coming down soon, making way for a highway construction project. Katie Jackson walks us through its story one more time before the wrecking ball swings. Pg. 30


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culture & community


crafts, activities, and an egg hunt. The Easter Bunny will also be in attendance, so bring a camera for pictures with Bunny. All activities will be held indoors except the egg hunt. Registration is required. Visit the Akron Zoo website for details.

é è ï

community events ï

è Babywearing International of Akron Youngstown Monthly meetings

March 16, 6:30 pm and March 28, 10:30am Meetings held at Firestone Park Community Center What is babywearing? According to, “Babywearing is the practice of keeping your baby or toddler close and connected to you as you engage in daily activities through the use of one of a variety of types of baby carriers. It is a traditional practice in many cultures that is not widely used by modern industrialized societies, but it nonetheless has many benefits for both children and caregivers. Babywearing promotes bonding, supports breastfeeding, can help combat postpartum depression, makes caregiving easier, and can be a lifesaver for parents of high-needs children.” To learn more about the practice of babywearing or to get help with your carrier, join Babywearing International of Akron Youngstown at Firestone Park Community Center at 1480 Girard St at one of their monthly meetings. They hold morning and



evening meetings once a month. For more info, check them out at BWIAkY.

ê Akron Bike Party March 18 at Coffee Pot Cafe, 7:30 pm 10 mile festive, social, bicycle cruise to music. Bring lights, music, and a spare tire. Costumes, feather boas, and crazy lights are encouraged.

ë Rubber City Beer Fest March 19 at Lock 3, 3-7 pm Join the Society of Akron Area Zymurgists for the second annual Rubber City Beer Fest, a celebration of craft breweries from the Greater Akron and Northeast Ohio area. More than 20 craft brewers from the Akron area will be represented and 40 + different beers. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Designated driver tickets are available at the door for $10 with non-alcoholic beverages available.

ë î å Rubber City Rollergirls March 5 at John S. Knight Center, 5 pm Rubber City Rollergirls are Akron’s first roller derby team. They have been rolling rough since 2008. All their home games are played at John S. Knight Center. The next home game is Saturday, March 5. Doors open at 5 pm; game starts at 6 pm. For tickets, call 1-800-8383006. For more info about the team, check out

ç Just Be Meditation Gathering March 13 in Green, 12-2 pm A meditation/mindfulness company started by Eden Kozlowski, Just Be Meditation has opened new doors at 1790 Town Park Blvd Suite D2


in Green, Ohio. As the only meditation studio in Summit County, Just Be Meditation helps individuals be more mindful about their lives through classes and community gatherings. To kick of the new studio, Just Be held a free spiritual gathering on Sunday, Feb 14. Visit the next spiritual gathering on Sunday, March 13 from 12-2 pm, and check out a new mural which will be painted by Miller South students Bayan Ahmad and Bella Zetts. Visit Facebook. com/JustBeMeditation for more information.

é Breakfast with Bunny March 12 & 13, 19 & 20, and 26 at Akron Zoo, 9-11 am Join the Akron Zoo for a breakfast buffet,

| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

í Spark Family Film Fest March 19 at Akron Art Museum, 12-4 pm The Akron Art Museum and the Nightlight Cinema invite parents to bring their young film connoisseurs to the museum for an afternoon of engaging, high-quality family films in the Charles and Jane Lehner Auditorium. While the event is for all ages, the full-length feature is recommended for ages 8 and up due to length. Admission is free. No registration required. There will be two film showings: “Best of the Fest: Kid Flix,” which is a series of shorts from the New York International Children’s Film festival geared toward the younger crowd, and “Welcome to the Space Show,” a full-length

feature. During the 30-minute intermission between films (1:00 – 1:30 pm), families are invited to create funky spaceships inspired by the feature film.

ì TILE: Technology, Innovation,

Leaders, Entrepreneurship meeting

March 22 at The University of Akron College of Business Administration, 6:30 pm TILE meets monthly on the third Tuesday of the month at The University of Akron College of Business Administration (259 South Broadway Street). Meetings are at 6:30 pm and free. The mission of TILE is to take motivated individuals and bolster their potential through the support of a vibrant community. With experience, collaboration and innovation, we help members articulate and accelerate their unique passion into an actionable strategy.

î 2016 Akron Antiquarian Book & Paper Fair

March 25 at John S. Knight Center, 10 am-4 pm Approximately 40 dealers will be on-site, offering selections from the following: “Old and Rare, Readable and Collectible, First Editions, Children’s Books, Americana, Maps, Prints, Illustrated Books, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Cookbooks, Civil War, Aviation, Art, Literature, Travel and more!” For more information, call 330-865-5831.

ï P.J. O’Rourke and Carl

Bernstein, “Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House”

March 31 at E.J. Thomas Hall, 7:30 pm A thought-provoking and entertaining look at Washington and politics with two of the most respected and insightful writers of the last 50 years, this exciting program is a moderated conversation between Carl Bernstein (co-author of All the President’s Men and A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Clinton) and P.J. O’Rourke (author of On the Wealth of Nations, Republican Party Reptile, and weekly Daily Beast columnist). Carl and P.J. open the program with insightful and humorous remarks on the country’s most relevant political and economic developments, followed by 30 minutes of moderated discussion and banter. With equal parts candor and levity, Carl and P.J. give audiences a look at today’s most pressing political topics--from dysfunction on Capitol Hill to the road to the White House. The program concludes with a Q & A.

Attention Registered Voters: Don’t forget to vote in Ohio’s Primary Election, March 15. For information about voting location, etc., visit WWW.THEDEVILSTRIP.COM

culture & community

There’s No��


serves up pancakes with a side of history words and photos by Andrew Leask


t is a cliché to say that a culture tells its story through its cuisine. The popularity of Travel Channel food shows and Food Network travel shows attests to how taken the public

witnessing firsthand the labor-intensive process of turning the clear, watery sap that flows from maple trees into thick, golden syrup. They can meet historical interpreters like Jeffrey Jones,

PICTURED ABOVE (L TO R): Star and Bright take part

has become with this idea. One should bear in mind, however, that food alone cannot tell the whole story.

who plays an early 19th century farm worker called Obadiah and demonstrates how to tap a sugar maple using his trusty tomahawk. Inside the sugarhouse, they will see how the collected maple sap is slowly reduced in a large boiling tank and learn how settlers adapted production techniques first developed by Native Americans.

early 19th century farm worker, explains the process

Take maple syrup, which arrived on the modern breakfast plate through the combination of a foundational Native American insight—that the sweet sap of maple trees could be reduced to make sugar—and the technology of European settlers, which made it possible to manufacture on a large scale. Embodied in syrup, the two cultures coexist peacefully in a way they rarely managed to do in real life. It’s a sunnily optimistic—if not terribly nuanced—take on American history that plays out over a stack of pancakes. For a more in-depth view into the history of this American staple, it’s worth visiting the Maple Sugar Festival at Hale Farm and Village.

Maple sap bubbles away inside Hale Farm’s sugarhouse. Jeffrey Jones, in character as Obadiah, an of producing maple sugar and syrup. // Andrew Leask prefers eating his maple syrup with a

at Hale Farm and Village will take place on March 12, 13, 19 and 20, from 10 am to 4 pm (breakfast will be served until 3 pm). Admission ranges from $5 for members to $15 for adult non-members. For more information, visit

side of waffles, not the other way around. He writes fiction in the company of his wife, Amy, and their two cats, Monty and Nigella.

Though Hale Farm no longer produces maple syrup for sale to the public, it makes enough to give its visitors a taste. Also of interest to visitors are the farm’s oxen, Star and Bright, named after a pair of oxen in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novel Farmer Boy. Altogether, the attractions and exhibits at the Maple Sugar Festival will help to give a larger

Hale Farm and Village, located on 90 acres in Bath, Ohio, is home to 32 historic structures, most of which have been relocated to the property in the interest of preservation. The farm and village serve as a living museum, with interpreters providing an interactive educational experience to its approximately 100,000 visitors

context to a substance that is often taken for granted. It’s easy to ignore the long and complex history of the foods we eat, or the intensely laborious processes that may go into producing them. But to explore the history of our food—to take that search for knowledge beyond the breakfast table—can reveal a lot about the place where we live. Hale Farm and Village shows that the history of maple syrup is the history of Ohio—that of the settlers who made their home here, and of the native people

a year.

that were here long before them.

Visitors to the festival, which takes place in mid March, will be treated to a pancake breakfast. Afterwards, they can explore the farm,

Maple syrup has a story to tell, but there is far more to it than meets the taste buds.


in demonstrations of 19th century farm techniques.

The Maple Sugar Festival • 330.835.9945 MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3 /

THE Devil Strip |


culture & community

new Sarah Coffin D’Alessandro

Age: 32 Occupation: Project Manager at Pritt Entertainment Group by day and artist/art enthusiast by night.

What do you wish was on more Akronites radar? Well, this is kind of a difficult question to answer because part of the problem seems to be marketing. There are so many cool things to do, people to meet, and places to go or eat or experience and yet I hear a lot of people complain that Akron doesn’t have much going on. It seems to all be slightly underground at this point. So, I’d say I wish Akronites would try harder to find and be a part of what IS happening, no matter how large or small and get rid of past perceptions. Akron is really cool! East Akron, Downtown, and so many other

something I can’t currently experience. The old buildings and homes in Akron are incredible. Many or them are vacant or beginning to [fall apart] from lack of care but some are going the distance, like The Civic Theatre and the theater in Highland Square. If these gems could be saved and repurposed, that would be up there with my favorites.

places aren’t what they used to be and need people to help them get going. If you want something to be different, go after it and find people to go with you!

I found The Nightlight, The Devil Strip (which I promptly took home, circled must-sees, and went to find them all), and the trails. On top of that, the people I met really clinched the deal. So many interesting people with vision and kindness. That’s a winning combo and made me want to stay.

own Mexican delights. Nepali Kitchen also captured my heart but I have to go back a few more times before I can rightly call it my favorite.

sure how far back my memory goes! But I have many many fond memories of growing up with my brothers on Mayfield Ave in Highland Square. We were a very close-knit neighborhood, and there were probably close to 20 kids right around my age. We rode bikes, built forts, had water balloon fights, rollerskated. It was capped with the street’s annual Block Party. I remember those years fondly, it truly was an idyllic place to grow up.

matching set, that’s too easy. You’ve got to define your style from scratch! It builds character.

Annie McFadden

Age: 33 Occupation: Deputy Chief of Staff, City of Akron


Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant? My co-workers at PEG took me to Taqueria La Loma in Goodyear Heights. I’ve eaten there a few times now and I love the tacos and the super low key vibe and the secret items that aren’t on the menu. It feels like you walked into someplace in Mexico. I almost feel like it should be super hot outside whenever I go in. Plus the market attached has some awesome, rarely found items to create your

What is your favorite local cultural asset? I love the national park and the trails nearby (especially Gorge Metro Park). That’s my favorite asset that I can enjoy right now... but to be Where in Akron do you like to escape? honest, the first thing that came to mind was I love to slip into the Nightlight or the Library

What do you wish was on more Akronites radar? Honestly, I wish that people knew how hard the City works for its citizens every single day. As a new employee to the City, I was amazed to see the high level of functionality and efficiency that we run on, despite major decreases in our funding. There’s still work to be done, and there’s a need for a stronger communications plan to better tell these stories, but I really hope Akronites know that there are many City employees who truly excel at what they do.


When did you fall for Akron? I moved here in July of 2015. As we drove through, it was easy to see that the city was quieter and struggling in certain areas. But as I explored,

downtown whenever I can. Both places are low key and inviting.

Where in Akron do you like to escape? For some tranquility, I take my dog, Carabiner, What is your favorite local cultural asset? to Cascade Valley Park, you can walk right I’m a Highland Square gal, so I’m partial to along the river there. For a little fun, I love Porch Rokr. It’s grown so much over the last few exploring the Bomb Shelter. My husband and years, and it’s now something our community I are both salvagers, so we like sifting through always looks forward to. the immense amount of treasures you can find there and deciding how to repurpose them When did you fall for Akron? I’m not even for our own house. Nothing is my house is a

| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant? I’m going to divert from the question here slightly and fill everyone in on what my husband and I refer to as the “magic triangle”, which we frequent constantly… Pub Bricco, The Merchant and Cousin’s Cigar, all located in a cluster in the Valley. There’s great drinks and food at both restaurants, and Cousin’s Cigar has a cool vibe and an unprecedented selection in their amazing humidor (if cigars are your thing). I highly recommend all 3, if you’ve never been. We constantly return to these spots because of the people: the owners, bartenders and servers who treat us like family. Because hey… it’s Akron.



Dinner with Dan and the Fam Talking about the city’s past, present and future over a meal the mayor made words by Chris Horne, photos by Ilenia Pezzaniti

This is a little weird, I finally realize. It’s one of those split-second thoughts that happens so fast it feels like instinct. You try to catch the thought but its echoes are already fading out because it’s long since zoomed past you. That’s where I am — asking that internal voice, “Why? Why is it weird?” — when the door opens and I try to tell the sophomore who

As my brain settles down, I see Dan — is it okay if I call him Dan? — didn’t have time to change out of his work clothes entirely. He’s wearing a light-colored Under Armor thermal shirt, but he’s still clad in dress slacks and dress shoes. A couple times, he asks — everyone, no one — if he should put on a collared dress shirt. We all assure him it’ll be fine and he agrees. He even

joke amongst the family members. Then Cassidy and her siblings heard the speculation on the radio, making it real, which felt surreal.

answered my knock why I’m at her house. But she already knows. She tells me her name is Kennedy and politely tolerates my rambling introduction. Walking inside, I notice “The

works for consensus when he’s trying to be comfortable.

of a perfect storm to put Daniel Horrigan in the race. He seems to operate as mayor out of a sense of duty to his hometown, not to be mayor for the sake of

Horrigans” on a plaque on the door. This isn’t just weird. It’s happening. I’m having dinner with the mayor and his family.

eyeballing the spread and says, “We always get our sausage from DeVitis.”

As soon as he sees me, Mayor Daniel Horrigan leans away from the stove and greets me like we’ve met before, which we haven’t. Extending his hand, he says, “You asked me where my favorite kitchen in Akron is. It isn’t someone else’s; it’s mine.” Moments later, our photographer, Ilenia Pezzaniti, arrives and he says, “Hi, I’m Dan.” Dan. Like, just some guy. Some guy named Dan. Totally not the mayor but this average guy, Dan, who is stirring a pot of his homemade red sauce, which must be good because it smells amazing. The whole house does because of it. “When we first got married, we both said, ‘Hey, let’s cook!’ But we didn’t do a very good job,” he says about those early days with his wife Deanna. “We both come from goodsized Italian families and so one day, I said to my mom, ‘Hey, I’ve got to learn how to make sauce.’ That was about 20 years ago and now I make it about once a month.” The family’s schedules don’t always align, so he’ll fix a big enough batch that the three teenage daughters can heat it up for dinner when their parents aren’t home.


Escorting the food to the table, he catches me

It reminds me that his path to the mayor’s office has been an unusual one. Paying his way through an education degree at the University of Akron, he dressed chickens at Difeo’s, which he later boasts is a skill he’s maintained. Before that, he served burgers at Swensons. With his second degree in hand — the first, in economics, he got at Kent State — he landed a teaching job at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, where

It took something

being mayor. That’s why he says he wouldn’t have run against Don Plusquellic. The same is probably true had Garry Moneypenny, The Don’s handpicked successor, lasted more than ten days in office after admitting to an unwelcomed encounter with a female city employee. Given the turmoil, the former Summit Co. Clerk of Courts is a sensible candidate, one who can promise to calm the waters. But he’s passionate about the city and its potential. As such, he

he’d attended school as a boy. You’d be hard pressed to have a much more Akron resume.

doesn’t plan on being anyone’s bridge mayor, simply to right the ship and sail away.

Before Ilenia walked in, Dan was forbidding me from calling him “sir,” which I’m genetically programmed to do as a Southerner. I offered to instead call him “Mr. Mayor,” but he didn’t seem to love that either. So I stuck with pronouns and he asked about my family. We discover their daughters once attended the same daycare mine does now.

Plates are passed around and soon filled up. Kennedy will have to split soon so the family hurries somewhat. Camille, the youngest (and by far the most energetic), sits between her big sister and mom. Deanna offers up some bread and Dan notes it’s focaccia from Sweet Mary’s.

Cassidy, the oldest, is now a high school senior with one eye on college and a job at the Mustard Seed in Montrose where her letterman jacket — HORRIGAN emblazoned across the shoulders — yields more attention these days. It’s one of the small things that reminds them something has changed.

“It’s not just good,” he corrects me. “It’s excellent.”

Once, running for mayor was an inside

“Looks good,” I say.

The family says grace and we all dig in, making small talk between mouthfuls. Compliments are traded like favors. Kennedy has to leave. My plate is soon clean and struggling not to ask for seconds so I ask about Akron instead.

community but immigrant entrepreneurship and culture. He gave several millennials and Gen Xers positions of authority in his cabinet and charged them with the knowledge that “this is about your generation” and those after it. He has great hope the Innerbelt project, which he inherited from the Plusquellic administration, can be a catalyst for growth — even after I confessed skepticism it could end up being an enormous skatepark. The optimism he conveys is a surprise for someone who assembled a Blue Ribbon Panel to get a through, measured grasp of the city’s financial situation. Even though the result brought some bad news, he eagerly points to the opportunities he finds in its findings. Then he balances that, admitting, “I’m not saying it won’t be tough.” He takes a similar approach to the 62.4 Report released by the Greater Ohio Policy Center a day before this dinner. When he finds a silver lining, it isn’t “spin” but rather the byproduct of embracing the problem and looking for its solution. Akron has fallen behind. What do we do now? The 62.4 Report may just suggest that the path to success involves investing in quality of life issues, as opposed to putting all the city’s eggs in that one basket reserved for landing a new major employer. There isn’t a story here, I’m comforted to realize. Not yet — not in any controversial way — and maybe never. That could be the best thing about Daniel Horrigan, the mayor: Plenty of vision, but no drama. But the best thing about Daniel Horrigan, the cook, is definitely that red sauce.

He sees North Hill, the neighborhood where he grew up and where he still lives within shouting distance of several family members, as a hub not only of the international

MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3 /

THE Devil Strip |


culture & community


kron is already awesome. At least, we at The Devil Strip think so. The question is how to make a great place even better. TDS photographer Ilenia Pezzaniti and I set out to find out exactly that, along with a group of 35 of Akron’s finest leaders, entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and community organizers.


The trip to Columbus was made possible by the Knight Foundation, the GAR Foundation, and the United Way of Summit County, and included a mix of pre-scheduled events and DIY

Next we travelled north up to Clintonville, where we discovered a vegan co-operative bakery, filled with all the plant-based pastries

exploration (meaning: we got to hike, walk, bike, bus, and Uber around Columbus for a day).

an herbivore could want. After that, we Ubered to Uptown, then walked to Short North-downtown’s art and shopping district. There we geeked out over bike repair stations and the free circulator bus.

Ilenia and I agreed that the highlight of the first day (and possible of the entire trip) was a tour of the Columbus Idea Foundry, courtesy of Alex Bandar. Bandar explained how their particular take on the makerspace works. Columbus Idea Foundry is a community workshop, learning center, and creative space providing training on and access to tools and technology. They offer classes in Blacksmithing & Casting; Electronics & 3D Printing; Glass Working; Metal Work & Welding; Woodworking; Laser & CNC Routers; Fine Art, Sculpture & Photography; Jewelry Making; Functional Arts; Entrepreneurship; and Software & Programming. Bandar showed us what they are working on now, what their future plans are for expanding (from the first floor of the restored warehouse to all three), and then presented us with ideas about how to expand and improve upon our makerspaces here in Akron.

Finally the group reconvened at the Ohio Statehouse, where we enjoyed a tour of Statehouse followed by an informative Q&A with Representative Emilia Sykes and Senator Tom Sawyer. After that, it was dinner at Due Amici and then a comfy bus ride back to Akron. Above all, my very favorite part of this trip was experiencing the overarching sense of community and collective consciousness. We all came back exhausted and inspired, full of ideas on how to improve this already awesome place we live. Here’s to a new year full of new beginnings. Let’s do this, Akron.

On the road to making Akron great(est) again Words by M. Sophie Hamad; Photos by Ilenia Pezzaniti

We enjoyed dinner courtesy of Market 65, the restaurant attached to the Sheraton downtown, which uses locally sourced, organic, seasonal ingredients. After dinner, owners Patrick Katzenmeyer and Anthony Micheli spoke with the group about the history of their restaurant, and about the growth and development of Columbus in recent years.

very helpful to tourists and out-of-towners who might get lost and need some direction, or might just be interested in having a geographical reference for what they are experiencing. We marvelled at the historic architecture, dined on croissants, and discovered the Book Loft, which could have taken up our entire day, if we had let it.

// M. Sophie Hamad is practically bursting with a sense of connection to the Akron community. ______________________________________________ Top (Clockwise from top left): The Book Loft. Books have taken over all four wings of a historical building in German Village; Sign for Columbus’s free circulator,

and Shannon Hardin. We gained insight on how to implement new ideas and how to make Akron better on from a legislative standpoint.

focused on placemaking and complete streets, some entrepreneurship, some coffee and food, and others art and shopping. Ilenia and I took off alone, exploring the city from South to North and back again. We started with German Village, and noticed

Columbus IF; Dina Younis in the golden light on the

The next morning began with a panel

Then we were released on Columbus. The group split up into smaller expeditions, each tackling different areas in and around the

presentation and Q&A with Columbus City Council members Zach Klein, Elizabeth Brown,

City. Some checked out the bike scene, some looked at sustainability and green spaces, some

on our walk there that each neighborhood or district was marked with a sign, which is

Interactive multi-sensory art from Columbus IF;


the CBUS; Art in Short-North (artist unknown); Sign designating the German Village area. Bottom (Clockwise from top left): Art from

| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

second floor of Columbus IF, where renovations are currently under way for an office coworking space; Columbus Idea Foundry sign.


culture & community

Urban Explorer:

Goodyear Heights words and photos by Kristina Aiad-Toss

Reminiscent of the industrial Akron of the 1920s, Goodyear Heights is filled with decaying abandoned factories, vacant storefronts, and old houses. Gritty and rough around the edges, this area’s hilly roads wind through the suburbs and leftover manufacturing plants. Amid all this dust and emptiness left behind from the golden era of tire factories, a little digging reveals the hidden gems of this neighborhood.


Buckeye Bookshop

Linda Theater

The Bomb Shelter

314 Pioneer St Akron, OH 44305 (330) 798-0043 Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun 6am-7pm Julians/111746295523581 This tiny family restaurant—oddly similar to the diner in the movie Pulp Fiction— has friendly service and amazing home cooked food. Offering superb breakfast and lunch selections, at this tucked-away dive coffee mugs will always be full and customers will always be satisfied.

795 Brittain Rd Akron, OH 44305 (330) 794-2455 Hours: Mon, Wed, Friday 11am-5pm Tues, Thurs, and Sat “by chance or appt” Whether you’re into Hemingway or Harry Potter, pay a visit to this local bookstore or visit their online catalogue. With shelves upon shelves of affordable used books, categories range from poetry to plants and fiction to philosophy. In an effort to increase space, the venue is conducting a sale where books are half price off or more.

1745 Goodyear Blvd Akron, OH 44305 (330) 784-3443 Hours: Showings daily at 1, 3, 5 & 7pm For moviegoers of all ages who are looking to experience a little history, this quaint theater offers first-run and class movies. Offered weekly at budgeted price of $5, this single screen cinema provides a quality film experience in a vintage setting with a snack bar.

923 Bank St. Akron, OH 44305 (330) 258-0088 Hours: Mon-Sat 11pm-5pm Sun 12-4 Exploding with Akron’s widest selection of vintage finds and rare antiques, this venue has rooms overflowing with an endless amount of items including furniture, jewelry, records, knick knacks, and more. From a hippy camper to a giant green monster greeting visitors, this location can be both a store for the antique collector or a museum for the nostalgia junkie.

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THE Devil Strip |


culture & community

Feelin’ the ’Big Love’ on Saturday, March 12. Diverse, family-friendly lineup celebrates collaboration with music, food, yoga and more by Noor Hindi


f the name Big Love Fest doesn’t get you excited, try Acid Cats, free food, yoga and community workshops.

Bites, Three Sisters Momo, Coffee Pot Café, Wabi Sabi Food Truck, Earth Energy Sustainable Treats, and the Western Fruit Basket.

“Expect 12 hours of music, full scale art installations, community building workshops, poets, theatrical performances, cooking demos, MC's, local food, various healing opportunities, and many conversations about how to heal our city,” says organizer Elizabeth Vild. The daylong celebration is expected to kick off at 11:00am with an opening ceremony. After that, 12 bands and musicians will be featured, as well as performances from Wandering Aesthetics, African Connection and local poet

“Big Love Networks' goal for our city is to empower Akronites to steward their place. Through people-care, earth-care and fair share, we can reimagine our city to model more regenerative natural systems to create a thriving heart-centered, caring economy,” says Vild. // Noor Hindi is all about the love. Top: Big Love logo by Michael Marras Above: Big Love organizers from left to right: Beth Vild, Zach Freidhof, Caitlin Boyle, Megan Shane, David Swirsky, Jessica Myers, Kristie Leahy (PHOTO: Svetla Morrison/ The Devil Strip)

Visitors can look forward to listening to

John Burton.

Gretchen Pleuss and Band, Rhode St. Rude Boys, Angie Haze Project, The Help and the The event is family friendly and welcome to kids Hands, Roger Riddle, Chris Hatton, Mary of all ages. White Experience, A Minus, Light of the Look, Acid Cats, Zach and the Bright Lights and “Big Love Fest is the hearth fire of Akron, Shivering Timbers. where people can collaborate, congregate, communicate and celebrate their ideas and Community workshops will be held on the special talents while setting the stage to community stage by Jason Segedy, Elizabeth build the best Akron we can build,” says Vild. Vild, PR Miller as the Grizzled Wizard of Waste “Expect to be engaged throughout all three Not Want Not, and a discussion panel about floors of Summit Art Space.” Akron’s Caring economy.


| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

“Various art, craft, and nonprofit vendors [will be available] throughout the building,” says Vild. “The healing space [will also] feature the healing modalities of yoga, meditation, reiki, massage, interfaith, tea lounge, [and a] sacred space.” While all of that is happening, community members will also be able to share a story with The Akronist, participate in a discussion about neighborhood identity with Torchbearers, and eat great local food which will be provided by Ms Julie’s Kitchen, Mustard Seed Market, Mo’

Be sure to join the community celebration on

Saturday, March 12 11:00am-10:00pm An after party will also be held at Musica.


culture & community


Highland Square

LIVE MUSIC LINEUP Friday, 3/4 • 9PM – Midnight F5 – Classic Rock

Sunday, 3/13 • 12 – 3PM Art & Tom – Acoustic Classics & Originals

Saturday, 3/5 • 9PM – Midnight Copali – An Original Instrumental Funk Fusion Sunday, 3/6 • 12 – 3PM Dan Bankhurst – Acoustic Fingerstyle Folk/Blues/Jazz

Saturday, 3/12 • 9PM – Midnight The Angie Haze Project – Indie/Folk/Cabaret/Gypsy

After the tour, I asked Bembnister about her favorite piece. She said that would be like a

Sobeck. (PHOTO: Bronlynn Thurman/ The Devil Strip)

person picking their favorite child. After some thought, she

ve O e

d Expe n a r


shared that the Pepperoni and Sausage by Mike Sobeck was commissioned by Luigi’s, but made specifically for the show, so it has some very special meaning.

rience our Ne wB re w p

“It’s important for Akron audiences to see an Akron piece in this exhibition.” Downstairs in the Beatrice Knapp McDowell Grand Lobby, the participants began the food and beer tasting portion of the event. They began light with Thirsty Dog Labrador Lager paired with a Chicken Chili and Corn Muffin, and ended with the Rise of the Mayan Dog Honey Stout with a Mocha Cinnamon Espresso Brownie from ACME Fresh Market Catering. Throughout the tasting a Thirsty Dog representative discussed the notes of each beer and an ACME representative discussed why and how the food complements it.



Throughout the tour, she discussed with the steadily growing audience why she picked certain pieces and her connection to them. In a larger museum, people tend to forget that there is a human element beyond the artist. This particular exhibit took about 6 months to put together.

Pepperoni and Sausage. Artist: Mike

ub !

Associate Curator Theresa Bembnister led an informative tour of her exhibition Snack. She stated that, although beer is never featured in the exhibit, “It’s food, and everybody loves food.”

Saturday, 3/26 • 9PM – Midnight Mustache Yourself – Gypsy Jazz

HIGHLAND SQUARE: 867 West Market Street Akron, Ohio, 44303 • 330-434-7333

words and photos bys Bronlynn Thurman

that involved a curator-led tour of a complementary exhibit and a beer and food tasting.

Friday, 3/25 • 9PM – Midnight Umjoah Nation – Reggae


A preview of Akron Art Museum’s Art & Ale event

As the Akron Art Museum’s 9th Annual Arts & Ale event approaches, the museum did something a little different. This was the first year that they prefaced the event with a preview

Saturday, 3/19 • 9PM – Midnight DJ Mind-E – House Sunday, 3/20 • 12 – 3PM Boy=Girl – Americana

Friday, 3/11 • 9PM – Midnight Jazz Shepherds – Jazz

Local Tastes

Friday, 3/18 • 9PM – Midnight Frankie Star Band – Blues


e r a pub in Highland Squ

I spoke with Development Officer, Michael Derr about the future of these events and a (continued on page 30) Food and beer tasting. (PHOTO: Bronlynn Thurman/The Devil Strip)


For details visit or 804 W. Market Street, Akron, OH 44303 (at the corner of Highland Ave and W. Market St.)


culture & community






The Wanderer Bring on the Beer



7 C 9 A D F L E O

words and photos by Holly Brown

What is one to do when one is freezing? One is to drink, that is what one is to do.

thoroughly enjoy each and every one), I’m going to showcase our favorites.

It was a Friday,

Ryan took quite a

there was kind of a blizzard, but hey! Ryan (trusty boyfriend/roommate/side kick) and I wanted beer, and we were going to be damned if a

shining to the Hop Heathen Imperial Black IPA. He gave me insight into the finer points of what he, a connoisseur of dark beer, considered what he

little snow and/or ice and/or wind and/or some combination of all three flying through the air, were going to stop us.

liked most. It’s a darker beer that’s not quite as bitter as some other IPAs, yet not at all sacrificing hops for it. It’s a bit sweeter, with a nice roasted flavor, perfect for coming in out of a snowstorm (which is basically what we did).

We got in the car and drove, albeit slowly, down 77 south. After some expert maneuvering by Ryan, we arrived at Hoppin’ Frog Brewery. I have heard much praise about Hoppin’ Frog; I know it’s internationally recognized as home to some of the best beer in the country. However, my only experience with Hoppin' Frog had been taking down an entire 22 oz Turbo Shandy in one sitting over the summer. If that wasn’t enough indication, I seriously, seriously enjoyed it. When we arrived, the parking lot had a nice solid layer of snow, a plow roared behind the wind as we trudged, layered up and booted, to the very welcoming light of the Hoppin’ Frog

Voted #1 Best Irish Pub

Celtic Rush Saturday, March 12

St. Patrick’s Day

celebration feat. Celtic Rush Thursday, March 17 from 3 pm to close Visit for more events

Live music. Great martinis. Private parties. 1503 Kenmore Blvd., Akron, Ohio • 330-745-5493

Tasting Room. Met with warm air and a pleasant glow, as well as the general light uproar and chatter that accompanies any good bar, we strolled in the front door. Looking for plenty to drink and a light snack, Ryan and I perused the menu.

I, on the other hand, could not deny the Gangster Frog IPA. It was hoppy but unassuming with is hops. What really got me was the citrus. It’s the kind of beer that’s light enough that you can easily drink more than one, but dense enough that it still gives you that belly warming, cold fighting blanket from the first sip. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to a summer/winter beer. It may be the best IPA I’ve ever had (I’m not even just saying this here, I said it to Ryan right after I took my first sip…he can vouch for me). Now, I went a bit rogue this month, going big for beer as opposed to food, but as I’m sure you’ve come to know over the last year, I wasn’t going to go somewhere that serves food and not try something. We picked two appetizers which looked especially…appetizing: Winter Warmer Stuffed Peppers and Garlic Hummus. (continued on page 29)

Self described on their website as “an everyweek beer festival,” I could not think of a more accurate description. With the option of a flight of four 5oz beers, between the two of us we were able to take down most of the beers they had featured this blistery night in February. While I would love to go in depth into each and every beer we tested (I seriously did not *not*

Photo courtesy of Hoppin'Frog/Facebook




culture & community

arnie’s public house

Lady Beer Drinker goes for burgers and brew Trying out the Rail’s Beer Exploration Society by Emily Anderson Last Thursday I went to The Rail’s Beer Exploration Society meeting in Fairlawn. The Rail is known for seriously delicious burgers and even better local beers. Each BES meeting features beer from a different brewery, hosted by a rep from that brewery. (You don’t have to be a member to attend, just call in advance and save a seat.) The meeting I attended featured Akron’s own Hoppin’ Frog Brewery. If you aren’t familiar with Hoppin’ Frog, I strongly suggest you check

Hoppin’ Frog makes with ingredients imported from Germany. Similar to the first, but with lots of raisin and other dark fruit flavors. It was surprisingly smooth for a dopplebock — definitely the best example of this style I’ve come across.

them out. has named them one of the “Top 100 Breweries in the World” for the last three consecutive years. If that isn’t reason enough, we all know that supporting local businesses really helps our economy. What is a better way to help Akron out than enjoying a delicious beer? John Humphrey, a brewer from Hoppin’ Frog, led an informative and interesting conversation about each beer as we sipped and munched on some fried goodies provided by the kind folks at The Rail. We jumped right in with Outta Kilter Wee Heavy Scotch-Style Red Ale – sweet, toasty, and warm with alcohol. This Wee Heavy was brewed with some rye, which gave it a nice crisp balance to all the sweetness. Next, we had the Karminator Imperial Dopplebock Lager, a classic German-style that (continued from page 28) The hummus (pictured left) was a perfect almost palate cleanser in-between beers, especially when loaded onto a crisp slice of cucumber. The garlic gave it just enough kick while still maintaining its distinct hummus-ness. Because it comes with delicious grilled pita as well as cucumbers, I was even able to make my own pseudo cucumber sandwiches (basically, layer cucumber on hummus on pita and shove into mouth).

Next we had the B.O.R.I.S. Reserve. Most of you are probably familiar with B.O.R.I.S.(Bodacious Oatmeal Imperial Russian Stout), it won’s Best Beer in Ohio in 2014 and 2015, and comes in tons of variations (aged in several kinds of barrels, Café B.O.R.I.S., a double named D.O.R.I.S., etc.) Unlike the original, the Reserve was made with Belgian Chocolate Malt and is much smoother.

John explained to us that their beers have a higher ABV (alcohol by volume) because it allows them to use more ingredients, creating a really “big” beer that has more flavor and complexity than is possible with lower ABV brews. He gave us a bit of a break with the third beer, Gangster Frog, which is one of their lightest beers at 7.5% ABV. It’s a west coaststyle IPA brewed with Citra hops. A great great meat lovers. When topped with the spicy marinara and parmesan sauce, it stuck the landing. These things….are so good. Certainly spicy, they helped to push that last little bit of cold out of the tips of my fingers. The spice hits you late, which I believe allows you to enjoy the flavors and the heat in equal measure.

The stuffed peppers literally tasted like pizza without the crust. With spicy peppers stuffed

When beers were had and food was finished, Ryan and I had one last thing we had to try: a beer shake. I love ice cream and beer, perhaps in equal measure. To combine the two is almost so genius it shouldn’t be allowed. Ryan made the pick of the Frosted Frog, a combination of

to almost the point of explosion with sausage, beef and bacon, it was all the makings of a

Frosted Frog Christmas Ale and butter pecan ice cream. This being my first beer shake


representation of this style – refreshing and juicy, with orange and tropical fruit flavors. John reminded us that while many of their beers age well, IPAs do not so they should be enjoyed as fresh as possible.

After those first two, at 8.2% ABV and 9.3% ABV, I think most of us were feeling a buzz. Even in small glasses, these beers are no joke!


We ended on Infusion A, a coffee porter “infused” with peanut butter. Peanut butter porters seem to be trending right now, but most of them are way too sweet for me. The *local* coffee in this beer cut that sweetness and I absolutely loved it! Infusion A is a product

Elegantly Casual Dining featuring Modern Twists on Your Favorite Comfort Foods and Classic Cocktails 1682 W. Market St at Westgate Plaza in Akron 330-867-0154 Open 7 days a week 11:00am-2:30am


of “Tower Tuesdays” – an experiment in infusing interesting ingredients into favorite Hoppin’ Frog brews at their tasting room every Tuesday. They even take suggestions from customers, so get over there if you have a good idea!

experience, I’m still not entirely sure how to describe the majesty. My recommendation? Just get to Hoppin’ Frog and have one yourself. // Holly Brown is trying to stay warm in Highland Square by snuggling with her toothless, meow-less

Akron’s Home of the All Day Breakfast featuring a Bloody Mary Menu, Mimosas and much more...

cat, Hedwig, after he lays next to the heater.

1688 W. Market St at Westgate Plaza in Akron 1680 East Waterloo Rd. Akron, OH Mon 5pm-10pm, Tues-Wed 11am - 10pm, Fri-Sat 11am -11pm

330-867-1114 Open 7 days a week 6:30am-3:00pm Sundays 8:00am-3:00pm

culture & community

Historic Akron

Akron Brewing Company Words and photos by Katie Jackson Once hailed as “the most modern brewery in the country”, the Akron Brewing Company building will soon face the wrecking ball to make room for the reconfiguration of the

prohibition the closed the doors in 1919. The business attempted to survive, crafting root beer and ginger ale, as well as leasing out space for cold storage, but it was never as successful

I-77/I-76 interchange.

as the brewery in it’s heyday. In 1925, People’s Dairy purchased the building, and it remained a dairy plant, trading hands between Sumner’s

The large brick facade building was the brainchild of 50 local saloonkeepers who came together to establish a brewery in Akron. In 1903 they broke ground at 841 S. High Street to create the Akron Brewing Company. The 5-story brew house churned out 30,000 barrels a year, mostly of their signature brew, White Rock Export Beer, which was marketed as a tonic “alive with health and goodness”.

Butter and Tasty Foods, Inc. over the years. Let's raise one last

Unfortunately the venture was short lived as

glass to the Akron Brewing Company, and the legacy of our saloons and barkeeps.

(continued from page 27)

// Bronlynn, the wandering elf, loves art and ale.

bit about Art & Ale. He said that the museum wishes to expand Art & Ale beyond the annual event and do more of these smaller events



   

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54 East Mill St. Akron 44308 (330) 762-8000 Hours: M-Th 11-10, F 11-11, Sat 3-11

because they provide a more intimate setting and allow for more interaction. This year at Art & Ale, the museum will be bringing in local companies, such as Sweet Mary’s Bakery, Norka soda and Nuevo. Onethird of the tickets have already sold, and they are expected to sell out, so those wishing to go should get theirs quick. As Bembnister reminds us, “Both beer and food have this ability to bring people together.”

BELOW: Theresa Bembnister leads a tour of the Snack exhibition. (PHOTO: Bronlynn Thurman/The Devil Strip)

Art & Ale at the Akron Art Museum

March 11th 6pm-9pm Snack exhibition up through September 3, 2016. Visit for more information.


music & entertainment

davina and the vagabonds



Jilly's Music Room is going above and beyond for Akron with this show, bringing in a rising star in Davina and the Vagabonds. This “genrebusting jazz” act is featured alongside Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and Andrew Bird in PBS’s “Best of Bluegrass Underground” and is slated to perform at the 34th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival on a bill with legendary pianist Chick Corea.

Jilly’s in Northside Thursday, March 10 at 8pm


MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3 /

THE Devil Strip |


music & entertainment



ê å




The Devil’s Dozen å EYE, The Beyonderers, G.S. Schray Friday, March 4 at Thursday’s Lounge, 8 p.m. Come on a voyage to the edge of space with Columbus-based psychedelic rockers, EYE, whose progressive soundscapes recall the best of Pink Floyd. On this trip you will also experience the reverb-drenched twang of Akron-based The Beyonderers and the sound collages of G.S. Shray, whose music video, “Merv at the Nexus,” is currently showing on loop at the Akron Art Museum. There is a $5 cover charge at the door.

ç Gretchen Pleuss (album release show) Friday, March 4 at The Rialto Theatre, 8 p.m. If you are in more of a singer-songwriter mood, Gretchen Pleuss will be celebrating the release of her third full-length album, From Birth to Breath to Bone, at the Rialto Theatre. An accomplished songwriter who won The Searchlight Songwriting Competition and who was a finalist in The Great American Song Contest with “Foreign Car,” Pleuss writes songs that deeply resonate with her listeners. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and admission includes a copy of the CD.

A big throwdown would go a long ways to making that happen.

‹ Neil Zaza Saturday, March 12 at the Akron Civic Theatre, 7 p.m. The next night, Akron native Neil Zaza brings his brand of instrumental guitar heroics to the Civic. Known for virtuosic solos and original melodic compositions, Zaza has also been known to perform pieces by Bach and Mozart, and has shared the stage with guitar greats Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Tickets are $25.

è Dear Forbidden, The Baker’s Basement, Eddie Doldrum, Penny Arcade Monday, March 14 at Hive Mind, 7 p.m. If you have a case of the Mondays, maybe some indie rock will be just the thing to help you make it through the rest of the week. Haunting melodies and confessional lyrics define the sound of Philly’s Dear Forbidden, while The Baker’s Dozen, a duo from Cleveland, mix a variety of styles into delicious treats for your ears. Akron’s Eddie Doldrum and Penny Arcade round out the lineup. A $5 donation is suggested.

é Speedbump Fest

‹ Tracey Thomas Jazz Quintet

feat. Rhomer, Rabid Reason, Nullum, Smash n’ Grab, FYPM, Feral Children Saturday, March 5 at Annabell’s These six punk and metal bands take the stage Saturday to celebrate the life of Garrett Janos and keep his memory alive with a night of shenanigans amongst “his favorite locals.” Organizers hope to make this an annual event.

Wednesday, March 16 at Jilly’s Music Room, 6 p.m. Tracey Thomas has explored many different sounds and styles over the years, from contributing to the development of The Akron Sound as lead singer of local legend, Unit 5, to her solo career covering rock, folk and bluegrass, before turning in recent years to


| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

jazz. Come see her latest incarnation with The Tracey Thomas Jazz Quintet, which takes turns between covering the American Songbook and breaking out into instrumental improvisations. There’s no cover, but you must be 21 or older to attend.

‹ Swan vs. Sean

ê Theron Brown

and trap music will also feature the beats of Heavydoses, Lazarbeam, Rob E C and DJ Bunnie Beatz, so put on your dancin’ shoes and get ready to hit the floor. A $10 cover charge at the door will get you free pool, $2 shots and all the bass you can handle.

Thursday, March 17 at BLU Jazz+, 9 p.m. The Blu Jazz jam session with bandleader/ pianist Theron Brown is for both musicians and music lovers alike. Also featuring bassist Dan Pappalardo and drummer Zaire Darden, audience members are welcome to bring an instrument and contribute to the sound. There is an $8 cover, unless you plan on participating, then admission is free.

ë Take Off Charlie, Corey Adams and the Dial Ups, Ruckzuck, Dynamo Love, Astronauto

Friday, March 18 at Empire Concert Club & Bar, 7 p.m. Take Off Charlie’s self-titled debut album was rated “Cleveland’s 20th Best Album of 2014” by Cleveland Scene Magazine. With impressive guitar licks and strong up-tempo melodies, the Akron-based band’s sound can be described as an eclectic mix of alternative rock, blues and folk. Also appearing are Corey Adams and the Dial Ups of Akron and Dynamo Love of Kent, with Ruckzuck and of New York state. Tickets are $8 for this all ages show.

Saturday, March 19 at The Vortex, 9 p.m. Saturday nights are all right for fighting the third Saturday of the month at The Vortex, where Lord Swan3x and Sean 2:16 will duke it out, DJ-style. Hosted by alternative model Lacey Diamond, the night of heavy bass, dubstep

‹ Hey Monea!, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers Friday, March 25 at Musica, 9 p.m. The last weekend of the month, Canton hometown favorite Hey Monea! will roll through Akron on tour in support of its 2015 album, The Fifty. Having shared the stage with such acts as Bruce Springsteen, The Barenaked Ladies and The Goo Goo Dolls, the band will bring its infectious pop rock sound to Musica’s stage. The show also features Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, whose energetic grooves and keen melodies will be sure to have you humming along. Tickets are $10.

í Davina and the Vagabonds Thursday, March 10 at Jilly’s Music Room, Normally, live shows are free at Jilly’s, so on

the rare occasion they charge a cover you should definitely go because you’re in for one ‹ The Atomic Hellcats, GOMI, Via helluva time. Case-in-point, Davina and the Vengeance, Missile Toe Vagabounds who will treat Akron to “a littleSaturday, March 19 at Tim Owens’ Travelers bit-jazz, little-bit-blues and all-sass” (Isthmus). Tavern, 8 p.m. To give you an idea about it, this “genreIf you like to get your pulse pounding, perhaps busting jazz” act out of the Twin Cities is being a night of punk and doom metal will be just the featured alongside Old Crow Medicine Show, thing to get you going. The Atomics Hellcats, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and Andrew a pop punk band from Akron, will be joined by Bird in PBS’s “Best of Bluegrass Underground” frontman Mark Duhon’s other band, GOMI, and and then will perform at the 34th annual San one-man doom metal band, Via Vengeance, Francisco Jazz Festival on a bill with legendary of Phoenix. Rounding out this lineup is Akron’s pianist Chick Corea, acclaimed saxophonist Ravi own “World’s greatest Christmas band,” Missile Coltrane and Cuban supergroup Los Van Van. Toe, whose punk sound is fit for any season. In other words, this show is a big deal. Tickets are $5 for this all-ages show.


(Neil Zaza, photo by Rod Flauhaus)

music & entertainment

He’s Still Alright

Akronite and virtuoso guitarist Neil Zaza discusses his career by Gabe Gott


n the United States, there is a niche market for guitar-based instrumental music; however, in the rest of the world, it is a different story. Just ask Akron native Neil Zaza, who is best known for his song, “I’m Alright,” off of his third album, “Song” (1997). Here, it is seen as one of the most common and challenging songs for guitarists to learn; however, in Asia, the song is so popular that it is not uncommon to hear ring tones and dance remixes of it.

music, overseas it’s viewed as just music, which is a nice thing,” he says. “But to tour over

stage one time, and, actually, in the dressing room right off the side of the stage, I got up

there, it’s fantastic because you really get to experience a whole different side of things, and you see different cultures and different ways

and signed the ceiling with a Sharpie — you know, my autograph back in whatever year it was — and it’s still up there, and I thought it

that things are done. It’s just a whole other world from growing up in Northeastern Ohio.”

was kind of funny that I’ll actually be getting to be play at the Civic.”

In spite of his success overseas, Zaza still resides

While today he is best known as an

in the Akron area. You might even catch him from time to time at one of his favorite haunts, Nervous Dog. He also attended The University

instrumental guitar virtuoso, his first band, Zaza, had a hit song with the 1989 power ballad, “Maybe Tomorrow,” which, he says,

of Akron, where he studied classical guitar under renowned instructor and performer, and current Chairman of Guitar Studies at the

was a learning experience on what not to do,

university, Professor Stephen Aron, who Zaza credits for instilling in him a strong work ethic.

“I think what I learned from that band is that you really have to be proud of the product that you put out,” he says. “You can’t just put something out and think that the fans are

“He really held me and all of his students very

and it still instructs him to this very day.

accountable for what we did on the instrument. instantly going to just flock to it, and you really There was certainly no slacking off,” he says. have to stand behind it.” “We had to come in every week, and we had to give it, basically we had do it as if it was for In the early ‘90s, that band disbanded, and real. He was very passionate about what he was that’s when Zaza himself embarked on his solo doing and what we were doing.” career. It took a few albums to establish his voice as a guitarist, and it was the song, “I’m Zaza credits that work ethic as one reason for Alright,” that helped him discover it. his success, and on March 12, in a performance presented by The Akron Civic Theatre’s “I really started thinking about the melodies in Club at the Civic Series, he will be fulfilling a longtime goal by performing at the local landmark. At the show, audience members will be seated on the stage with Zaza and his band as they perform a career-spanning set, including selections from his latest album, 2015’s “Peach.” It will be his last show in the U.S. before he leaves on a three-month tour of China, Europe and various other parts of Asia.

“It’s just a different attitude towards the music.

“I love the venue because it’s so historical and beautiful, and I understand the stage sounds really great,” Zaza says. “When I was a kid out of high school, I was a roadie for Three Dog Night for one of the shows they did at Akron

Whereas, in the U.S., it’s more viewed as guitar

Civic, and I remember wanting to play this

Jeff Klemm

the music and the actual songwriting. If you listen to that song, it’s not about the technique, and it’s not about, you know, how fast I was playing. It really was about how the song was connecting with people,” he says. “I think it’s really kind of a template that I follow to this very day, which is, you know, let’s make sure the song is really good. Don’t worry about showing that I know this riff, that I can play this fast, ‘ooh, check this out.’ You know, if you author a good song, it’s going to be ‘I’m Alright,’ and then it’s gonna be alright.”

Unplugs for a Month of Wednesdays by Chris Horne

If you like Akron music, you know Jeff Klemm’s name, even if you don’t know Jeff Klemm. He’s led Maid Myriad on tour and in the studio. He’s taken on a solo side project with Jeff Klemm & The Letters. He’s chief cheese Sad Bastard — most recently to commemorate the unfortunate passing of Kevin Junior — at the periodic, song-centric sing-arounds featuring other notable local musicians. He has his own studio, books bands and runs sound at some of the AK-Rowdy’s best live music venues. He’ll even avenge the honor of local musicians when promoters threaten to take advantage. He was even The Devil Strip’s first official interview, which you can read at But just when you thought there was nothing


left for this 28-year-old Akronite to do with local music, he’s all like, “Oh, I think I’ll do a month-long acoustic residency at Annabell’s Lounge.” So, for the month of March, you can catch (yet) another side of JCK, who’ll play a mix of new tunes slated for his upcoming acoustic album, covers of songs that inspired him and deep cuts from his own nearly 10-year-old catalog of songs. Each solo performance, which are free, takes place from 8-10pm at Annabell’s on W. Market. Just in case you’re already missing the plugged-in sound of the Hardest Working Man in Akron Show Business, you can catch him fronting The Letters on St. Patty’s Day at Annabell’s.



music & entertainment



CuSTomer APPreciATion niGHT�

Standing Room Six Akron bands we think you should know by Brittany Nader and Gabe Gott

Buy One Drink, Get One 10:00 p.m. until midnight Compliments of TPH Productions $1.75 Pint Special $5.50 Burgers Trivia With DJ Larry Win Huge Prizes

å Outdated View

Tuesdays Taco Nights $1.50 to $3.00 Drink Specials Available

ç Iris Isadora

Wednesdays Chef Todd’s Food Specials Thursdays HALF OFF Regular Burgers Fridays 12oz Strip Steak $12.00 Saturdays Check Out Our Live Music Schedule Sundays Karaoke With Chris (Now 9:00 to 1:00) $0.50 Wings Super Power Hour From Open - 8:00 P.M. $3.50 Well Drinks $3.50 Bud Light Drafts


Monday through Friday Until 8pm Monday through Friday open at 2pm Saturday & Sunday open at 12:30 549 W Market St, Akron Phone: (330) 376-8307


Outdated View is a blues-based rock ‘n’ roll band from Akron/Canton that takes a decidedly less minimalistic approach than its garage rock forebear; with its four members, Matt Pentello on vocals and rhythm guitar, Matthew Shewbridge on lead guitar, Drew Marett on drums, and Jack Henze on bass, producing a more fleshed out sound that you can hear on the band’s self-titled debut EP, which was released last November. The band brings its energetic sound to crowds all around Northeast Ohio, and will next be performing at Annabell’s on March 11 with Husbands & Wives and Coldswell.

At just 17 years old, singer-songwriter Iris Isadora has taken her talents from Kent, OH, across the Greater Akron area, filling local bars, venues and DIY spaces with her soulful acoustic covers and originals. Fans of Cat Power and Fiona Apple will recognize a familiar melancholic beauty in Isadora’s songs, with lyrics full of wisdom and lyrical imagery that place the songstress well beyond her years. There’s no doubt this young singer and guitarist will play a significant role in the “next generation” of the local music scene.

é Rebekah Jean



Singer-songwriter Rebekah Jean has written so many songs since her 2012 debut, “Love May Be Real But It Ain’t Enough,” that she is recording two follow up albums, “one in Ohio where rock ‘n’ roll (and yours truly) was born and one in Nashville where the country music people are.” Her style is a result of growing up listening to her dad’s rock ‘n’ roll and the classic country of her mom’s Appalachian heritage, and can aptly be described as Americana. Her debut was produced by Grammy-nominated producer David Mayfield (brother of Jessica Lea Mayfield) and engineered by Dan Auerbach mentor Bob Cesare. You can catch a performance by Rebekah Jean March 8 at Uncorked Wine Bar.

è Sancat When a rock band lists Chopin as an influence, you might suspect that its members are joking; however, one listen to Sancat will tell you that they are entirely serious. The band’s piano-driven sound has a clear classical influence in addition to the metal, pop funk and jazz influences that are also present throughout the band’s 2013 album, “Supernatural.”


Frontwoman Sandra Emmeline’s soaring, theatrical vocals stand out, as well as the strong musicianship of the band, overall. It’s easy to see why fans would describe Sancat as “fantasy rock,” with songs with titles like “Eyes of Coal,” “Sandman” and “Werewolf.” For fans of Coheed & Cambria, Muse and Tori Amos.

ê From Borealis If you’re a fan of instrumental math rock/post-rock, or maybe you’re just curious what it is, then you should check out Akron’s From Borealis. With two EPs, the band’s 2013 self-titled debut and its 2015 release, “Super Kid,” the members, Mike Lowden on guitar, Alex Owens on bass and Brian Dotin on drums, demonstrate their musical prowess with complex interweaving rhythms, sudden meter and tempo changes as well as rises and falls in dynamics. There are also ambient textures sprinkled throughout that add another layer of complexity to their sound. From Borealis will be performing next at The Foundry in Lakewood on April 20.


ë Valley Girls With the release of 2013’s ‘Mesozoic,’ Robin Guiler and Seth Troyer created nine tracks of loud, heart-pumping, brain-melting experimental rock rich with lush distortion and crashing rhythmic percussion. Embracing the distinct sounds of the ‘90s alternative era and disjointed, fast, punk rock inclinations resulted in a slew of memorable local performances. The contrast of this heavy sound with its sugary sweet band name results in a beautiful irony sure to conjure up some feelings of both confusion and delight among audiences. The duo is set to release its sophomore album, “Being/Becoming,” in the near future, setting listeners up for what is sure to be a wild, noisy ride.


music & entertainment



How many actors have done multiple movies together? Certainly the duos of Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau, as well as Woody Harrelson/Wesley Snipes come to mind. But how many have been in the same movie five different times? That's the circumstances surrounding the two stars of the newest Divergent series film "Allegiant", out in theaters March 18th. The two are the closest of friends outside of cinema, but have etched an on-screen chemistry that have made them the representatives for best duo of the current generation of films. Many are familiar with their most popular of titles, but where did their magic begin? Lets take a look at their first film together:


“The Spectacular Now” (2013)

Kent Stage • Friday, March 18 at 8 pm

"500 Days of Summer" writer Scott Neustadter pens this screenplay based on the bestselling novel by Tim Tharp about the biggest year of change in a teenager's life; the final year of high school. Sutter Keely (Teller) lives in the now. It's a good place for him. A high school

For tickets, visit OPENER: 11After, All-female Akron rock band

senior, charming and self-possessed, he's the life of the party, loves his job at a men's clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he's never far from his supersized, whiskey-fortified thirst-master cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend (Brie Larsen), Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finecky (Woodley) hovering over him. She's different: the "nice girl" who reads science fiction and doesn't have a boyfriend. While Aimee has dreams of a future, Sutter lives in the impressive delusion of a spectacular now, yet somehow, they're drawn together on a colliding course of Aimee's hopes with Sutter's negative influences.

expose. The subject of alcoholism is presented with a very frightening context, as it's a slow underlying process to costing Sutter everything he has. The brilliance of this direction is that it's done with such a subtle touch that it never feels overdone or repetitive in storytelling. The film is also brilliantly structured with several During an age where teenage films are more surprises behind every corner. Neustadter's concerned with recycled plots, "The Spectacular script leaves enough room creatively to always Now" shines with originality in plot device, while showcasing a fresh cast of up-andcoming stars just itching to steal the light. Directed by James Ponsoldt, the film tackles the kinds of issues with teenagers that other films in the post-John Hughes era were afraid to

keep the audience guessing with its characters and the many ever-changing situations they find themselves in. By the time the film is over, you will think this is anything but your typical teenage drama. One of the many impressive layers to the film is in the many varying performances from a next generation cast of A-listers. This is Teller's first performance of meaningful range before he went on to the Oscar Best Picture nominee "Whiplash". Teller's Sutter still effortlessly displays that Cusack-esque personality that is hard to hate no matter how naive he acts. Woodley displays a childlike innocence that makes it easy for anyone watching to fall in love with her. The chemistry between them (continued on page 36)



music & entertainment

Learning a Lesson in 'Djangology’ with



Ohio’s Only Gypsy Jazz Quartet Shines in the Valley by Brittany Nader









ucked away deep in the Valley sits a small theater nestled in the back of Pub Bricco, where locals can typically expect to witness performances ranging from comedy shows to dramatic plays. Walking through the pub’s dark, maze-like hallway on a chilly February night,

attendees of the venue’s special Pub Jazz performance series held each Wednesday. The waves of sound produced by Wagner’s instrument filled the space, passing off to Brent Hamker’s electrifying guitar, embodying the

During the second set, the audience grew most attentive, even inspiring an attendee to make a request to the band. Jovial and compliant, Wagner busted out a few bars of the so-called

patrons were guided in the right direction by the warm tones of gypsy jazz quartet Moustache Yourself. The intimate None Too Fragile Theater was transformed that evening into a Romani caravan, taking the audience across the waters and back in time as the Akron

improvisational traditions of gypsy jazz with laid-back grooves. As the quartet seamlessly transitioned from songs like Reinhardt’s “Blues For Ike” to Wagner’s original compositions, upright bass player Matthew DeRubertis served as educator and rhythmic guide, directing

“Star Wars Cantina,” before he, DeRubertis, Jones and Hamker finished off the evening with a crowd favorite, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” another gem from the ‘30s that was an appropriate fit in Moustache Yourself’s repertoire. Ohio’s only

musicians performed intricate compositions, many of which were written and made famous by Jean “Django” Reinhardt in the 1930s.

the music with steady, skilled basslines and engaging the crowd, both musically and verbally, on the traditions of this jazz style.

As the players settled in, seated only a few feet away from others in attendance, Brad Wagner’s clarinet sang out the first notes of the opening tune, recalling sounds from those seedy French establishments notorious in the late 1800s where a barrage of bohemians, thieves, gangsters and other less-than-favorable folk would gather. But on this particular evening,

The group’s dark, chromatic gypsy flavor, married with the lively swing style common in the beginning half of the 20th century, was highlighted especially as Jeremy Jones strummed his Selmer style guitar with smooth, fast up-and-down movements. The rhythm guitarist’s particular technique utilizes a special method referred to as “The Pump” by gypsy

gypsy jazz quartet will return to Akron March 26 to perform a lively set at Mustard Seed café in Highland Square in between shows in Willoughby and Cleveland, undoubtedly prepared to send listeners back in time with musical traditions gathered from across the sea and cast upon us here in our little Midwestern home.

the crowd was quite contrasted with the patrons one would have expected to see back in those days. The theater was filled with small tables, warm meals and hushed conversation from couples and friends, perhaps regular

jazz artists from France, Italy and beyond. From “Minor Blues” to “Sweet Georgia Brown” and a special waltz, the mustached musicians cohesively performed their take on hot club jazz with strings and clarinet filling the small room

(continued from page 35)

What matters most to me is that director of photography Jess Hall (“Hot Fuzz”) really took the time to give a gorgeous background and cinematography to a film primarily about adolescence. The rich color scheme and tapestry in design gives the film a real mature feeling in tone that never sacrifices one without the other. There's a kind of dreamy and glossy presentation to the wide angle shots of the town and surrounding landscapes where our protagonists take us. This is of course personal interpretation, but I feel like it is to give the impression that life around us may look like a fairytale, but what's going on internally is the










51 E. MARKET ST. AKRON, OH 44308


feels like best friends from the get-go because they work so well off of each other, going line for line in real, honest teenage dialogue. One scene in particular is an uncut, unedited continuation for over three and a half minutes between them. I don't care who you are, that's impressive. In addition to this, the film boosted the careers of big timers today like Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brie Larsen and Bob Odenkirk to round out one of the strongest ensembles I have ever seen for a teenage drama.

with lush sound and highly skilled playing.

Hear more from Mustache Yourself, and stay up to date with future performances, by following the quartet online at

real truth. This is an appropriate theme to the kinds of novels Tharp has written in books, with most of them requiring a deeper look to see what's really going on behind the beautiful towns with picket fences. "The Spectacular Now" is anything but just another whimsical romantic teenage romp. Instead, it pushes through the cliches of a spoon-fed genre by signaling that fear of growing up, and more importantly who we will grow into.



When Life Gives you Lemons Make Yellow Snow

By Georgio Pelogrande (@GPelogrande)

Well, the ol’ Devil Strip is one year old though it seems like only twelve months ago this magazine was founded. Needless to say I am proud to be contributing my third column. So first, congratulations Devil Strip on your anniversary. Second, I’m sure the first year of publishing was full of challenges. Now, in the spirit of overcoming obstacles, that’s exactly what I am going to write about... I’m going to call this little article, “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Yellow Snow.” Despite being a world famous journalist and occasional radio host, I am often picked on. Lots of times I think people pick on me because I know a lot of things and they are jealous of my ability to retain facts and then regurgitate them on command, or not on command. However I never let my detractors ruin my mood or discourage my path. “How?” you may ask. “How do you do it? What’s your secret?” Cool it. I’m about to tell you.


When life gives you little challenges, my best ancient Texas (pronounced tay-has) native suggestion is that you simply lay down. I’m not peoples were known to shave a bull’s-” speaking figuratively either. I mean when faced Him (rudely interrupting): “Son, if you don’t with an insurmountable challenge or when shut your stupid mouth I am going to take someone is trying to sour your grapes, literally this Gatorade bottle and shove it-” lay down. You know why? It’s really hard to pick Me: <no words, but sensing the impending on someone who is laying prone on the floor of confrontation, I just laid face down on the the post office or local library (two places I get floor> picked on a lot.) Him: “What are you doing? Son, are you having a fit or something?” Here is an example just from today: Me: <still no words, just laying still as a

See? Told ya... Can’t pick on me because I just #LayDown. Well, I hope this little tidbit comes in handy the next time some grumbly old tough guy is trying to shut down your insightful remembering and reciting of facts. Don’t let anyone pick on you without showing them who’s the boss (the boss of laying face down on the floor, that is.) Note: Oh, also, it helps when you lay face down on the floor if you keep your arms at your sides, for effect.

I was at the corner gas station getting some of my grocery shopping done for the week when I saw a middle aged man checking out the beef jerky rack. Being the helpful and kindhearted person I am, I promptly stepped in to offer some #FactsChecked information on the subject of dried meats. It went a little something like this:

I will now leave you with my favorite quote about facing life’s challenges: “’Twas merely a passing and brief insult that brought me such herculean strength as is required to look a snarling tiger in the face and simply lay down.” - Georgio Pelogrande

Me: “Excuse me sir or ma’am, but did you know that human beings have been curing and drying meats since the dawn of the dinosaurs? As a matter of fact, in

cucumber> Him (to gas station attendant, Ruthie Anne): “Ma’am you’d better get this boy some help. I think he’s having a stroke or something. Or maybe he’s an escapee...” Attendant Ruthie Anne: “Just leave ‘im. He does this crap all the time. Georgio, giddup!” Him: <walks away> Me: <gets up and picks out some delicious beef jerky, pays, and leaves> End Scene

Until next time, read a lot, be nicer than you were yesterday, and do hard math. Thank you and you’re welcome. // Georgio Pelogrande is the esteemed sports, weather and traffic reporter for The Altered Realm radio show, Saturday nights 8 pm to midnight on

MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3 /

THE Devil Strip |


back of the book


mustard seed v. mustard seed

In this edition, we force the Mustard Seeds in Highland Square and Fairlawn into a competition. the germy, no-hands option for your after washing rituals.

or not at all. Do you know how many germs spread when flushing a toilet? A freaking lot. I’m not grossed out by germs, but this gives me the shivers. If it doesn’t flush automatically, you have to dance in front of it or wave your hand over the sensor. These devices should not be sold in stores until the toilet flush companies figure it out already. Or make a remote control flushing toilet. We have sent humans to the moon, we have done many impressive science things, we have the Internet in our pockets. I

Fear not being stranded without toilet paper — there is a basket with a large collection of extra rolls right inside the door. You can take one with you into the stall if you are worried, but be sure you put it back if you don’t need to use it. And don’t go steal them now that I told you this. The fake flora on the sink really adds a touch of elegance. At no point during this visit did I feel like I was in a grocery store bathroom. Though, I suppose the case could be made that I wasn’t.

think we can figure out remote control toilets.

Highland Square Mustard Seed Market and Cafe (HSMS) word and photo by Emily Dressler The upstairs women’s bathroom at the HSMS (suspiciously located right past the Reverse Osmosis Water Station) is decent. But “decent” doesn’t win it in this high stakes bathroom competition. The cafe bathroom is lacking in character, but it is clean and functional. Its saving grace is actually the natural light and the sunlight that pours in. The large fork decor on the door is a nice, if slightly confusing, touch. Four stalls feels like plenty for a neighborhood cafe/market, especially since there is a bathroom downstairs. The stainless steel stalls are a classic touch. Let’s call it industrial-chic. I wonder about cleaning handprints off stainless steel, but that’s less of a worry in a public bathroom where patrons are (hopefully) not grabbing the walls. The stalls were stocked with two rolls of TP apiece. An overflowing basket of extra toilet paper rolls underneath the sink gives a feeling of abundance.

I don’t mean to keep harping on diaper changing stations in all my reviews, but the changing station here is in the handicap stall. I understand about space restrictions, but changing a baby’s diaper is not a handicap. The sink is a classy looking trough made of a white plastic-composite material with two lowpressure automatic faucets at either end. The soap is foamy and not exciting. The last time I was here, I liked the coconut hand lotion on the counter so much that I bought some for myself. Ahem, management. Put the free lotion back. The two different brands of paper towel dispensers are a weird and not very earthfriendly design choice. One is by the sink, next to a laminated pictorial about hand washing. The other is by the door next to a hand sanitizing station for all you germaphobes. This bathroom flushes in at 3 toilets. Highland Square Mustard Seed Market and Cafe 867 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303 (330) 434-7333 Hours: Monday - Thursday 9 AM - 9 PM Friday & Saturday 9 AM - 10 PM Sunday 10 AM - 7 PM

Obviously, I have strong opinions on automatic flush toilets. The automatic flush is inconsistent. It either flushes too soon, after a brief delay,


| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #3

Fairlawn Mustard Seed Market and Cafe (FMS) — the Original Gangsta words and photo by Marissa Marangoni In Europe, it is definitely not kosher to use a bathroom in a cafe where you are not dining, but that’s what I did when I visited the Mustard Seed Market and Cafe in Fairlawn. Being

The one puzzling thing about the FMS bathroom was the little paper bits scattered all over the floor, but I easily overlooked it when compared to all of the other features in this establishment. The FMS OG bathroom gets a sparkling 4.5/5 toilets from me. Sorry new, hip Highland Square Mustard Seed, you’re the crapper in this contest. Fairlawn Mustard Seed Market and Cafe 3885 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303

pregnant means you can do this sort of thing. (330) 666-7333 No one is going to tell me otherwise. And the Hours Monday - Thursday 9 AM - 9 PM only bathroom in the store happens to be in the Friday & Saturday 9 AM - 10 PM cafe, so, well, what else was I supposed to do? Sunday 10 AM - 7 PM I have to hand it to them, the Mustard Seed Cafe OG is really on their game with their bathroom facilities. For starters, there’s a chair and informational pamphlets about food and health right inside the women’s door. And I was informed by a trusted source that the same is true inside the men’s. Fancy.

Loo-pala-loo-za Friday, April 1 at Summit Artspace

The good folks at the Summit Artspace are hosting an event inspired by your favorite bathroom review column, Urine Luck. After the first floor bathroom earned a low score in the December 2015 issue, Artspace director Joanne Black tiles on the walls and expensive looking faucet fixtures really give this space a high-class Green says, "We laughed. We cried. We took feel. You could read an entire book in the chair on the challenge to reinvent these spaces." So, they're ready to unveil a new look for their loo and not even realize you weren’t in a swanky hotel lobby. There are multiple automatic paper with an April 1 "absurdly appropriate ribbon towel dispensers, a large collection of stalls, and cutting as we make fun of ourselves and answer the call of our community." even automatic hand dryers in case you prefer



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March 2015 - Vol. 2, Issue 3 - It's our anniversary  
March 2015 - Vol. 2, Issue 3 - It's our anniversary  

Can you believe we made it a whole year? And what a year too. One mayor for 28 years and then all of sudden we're on the third since The Don...