Page 1

The Backstory on Burkhardt’s Beer (pg. 8) & The Big Big Mess (pg. 6)

8 Questions (someone else asked) the Pope of Mope, Morrissey (pg. 22)

Local comedy Empire (pg. 9) & How to resign from U of Akron (pg. 26)

The Devil Strip JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 • THEDEVILSTRIP.COM


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Akron Music, Art & Cu


(330) 842-6606

General Info:

INSIDE THE ISSUE When I first proposed we do a story asking “Can beer save Akron?” the idea was just a playful riff on the craft beer boom that’s as evident here as it is regionally and nationally. But then it seemed like, if not saving Akron, beer could actually be redefining Akron.

in Philly with wayfinding art to its 850 polling locations and others convert an 8-story building into a mixed-use maker space and others renovate 300 childhood playgrounds, we just want to have some fun putting stuff in a box and mailing it to people. Of course, I left the Motor City with more than perspective. In fact, as much as I loved learning from Theaster Gates, Joanna Frank, Fred Dust, Jake Barton, Kate Catherall, Charles Landry and Robert Hammond, nothing was better than connecting to other “winners.” Now, I know smart, passionate, creative people in St. Paul, Miami, San Jose, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Detroit and of course, Macon. I can call on and learn from them as we get closer to turning the Devil Strip into an agent of change, not just an arts and culture rag.



ONLINE: Website:


Twitter: @akrondevilstrip

Instagram: @thedevilstrip _______________________________________

Publisher >> Chris Horne

Art Director >> Alesa Upholzer

Illustration and Design >> Bronlynn Thurman, Edgar Woolley

Photographers >> Svetla Morrison, Paul Hoffman, Bronlynn Thurman, Ilenia Pezzaniti and Shane Wynn

Contributing Writers >> Holly Brown, Jenny Conn, Jessica Conti, Abby Cymerman, Katelyn Gainer, M. Sophie Hamad, Noor Hindi, Carley Hull, Jecca, Chris Kessinger, Isaac Kelley, Eric Morris, Christopher Morrison, Brittany Nader, Ilenia Pezzaniti, Sarah Stubbs, Bronlynn Thurman, Elizabeth Tyran, Katie Wheeler, Joanna Wilson

Start with our two award-winning, nationally-lauded microbreweries, Thirsty Dog and Hoppin’ Frog. Then when R. Shea opens to the public, joining Trailhead, Aqueduct, Nauti Vine and MADCAP, we’ll have five nanobreweries in greater Akron. The Brick Oven Brewpub in Ellet is the first of three, the other two— one in a loft development by the Towpath near Mustill Store and another coming to Highland Square with the promise of pizza made with beer yeast—opening within the next year. Then there’s SAAZ and the mighty homebrew scene, aided by the awesome Grape and Granary. Some of our excellent restaurants, like Crave and Nuevo, do beer tastings and beer dinners or have proprietary brews. In Thirsty Dog, we have a brewer who’ll host a Crafty Mart pop-up and then sponsor the inaugural Rubber City Race Series. (Those medals are like whoa.) Not to mention the Brew at the Zoo, Blues & Brews Festival, the Civic’s Akron Craft Beer Festival, the CVSR’s Ales on Rails, the Rubber City Beer Fest and the Ballpark Festival of Beers. And when there’s nothing “special” going on, we have amazing joints like Portage Lakes Brewing Company, Craft Beer Bar, Jilly’s, 69 Taps, Primo’s, Cashmere Cricket and the Lockview, among a ton of others who go all-out for local beer lovers. But that’s just thinking about the sheer number of outlets for our collective beer yen. Consider what good craft beer facilitates and multiply that by the above. Typically, you drink craft beer for the experience. It’s about being social, and the more social we are, the better connected we become. That’s where this gets interesting. (Note: These connections aren’t exclusive to beer. It could be yoga or theatre or heartbreaking faith in Cleveland

sports.) I thought about this a lot in Detroit, thanks to the Knight Foundation. In lieu of a proper dinner, I drank beer with strangers at Garden Bowl, the oldest bowling alley in the nation. There were about 15 of us, all in town for the Knight Cities Challenge “winners’ summit,” which gathered up about 130 “civic innovators” from all over the country. I shared a lane with a near-future Akronite named Roger Riddle (follow him on Twitter @OccupyYouriPod), and three other KCC winners. One uses branding as a strategy to revitalize Detroit’s neighborhoods. Two others are launching the Miami Science Barge, a large, floating, educational science experiment. The folks in the next two lanes were likewise big thinkers, big doers. Bowling was our excuse to get together but beer helped us connect and learn. What I learned: Unbox Akron is really doable. While other folks try to increase voter turnout

I don’t want to build an audience for the magazine. I want to help build a tribe of tribes for the good of the city. If you think about the Devil Strip and Unbox Akron in that light—as tools, not the end goal—then maybe this makes sense. The question I want to answer each issue is “How can we connect more people this time?” And soon, “What can we accomplish with them?” So, my theory isn’t that Akron will become a better place to live because we have great beer, but that connection will and our great beer gives us an edge that beer-poor cities don’t have. We have more opportunities to unite. As such, I can’t wait to tell you more about the Happy Hour Salons we’ll start hosting soon. In the meantime, Akron, I raise my pint to you. Take Care, Chris



Paul Hoffman grew up in the Akron area and has lived here his whole life

The Devil Strip is published bi-monthly by Random Family, LLC. Akron Distribution: The Devil Strip is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. Copyright: The entire contents ofThe Devil Strip are copyright 2015 by Random Family, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above.

because he loves it. After graduating from the University of Akron with a bachelor’s in studio art, he’s worn a lot of different hats from being a cartoonist to a graphic designer to a web designer/master, as well as a lot of freelance sports photography and even a few years as a help desk analyst. This is his first cover photo for The Devil Strip, taken on the patio at Nuevo Modern Mexican with downtown Akron as a backdrop.


That is, there’s a big picture here and the Knight Cities Challenge summit reminded me of that. And you know what, so did the Danstravaganza, which brought it all home for me. At Tangier, it was about the community of Dan Van Auken’s family and friends. The second night, it was about the community attracted to those friends and family. Again, I feel lucky that y’all let me live here.

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THE Devil Strip |


Arts, Culture & Entertainment


How Are You Going To

Treat Yo’Self


This Summer?

Angel, server, East Akron

Goosetown: The Devil’s Milk, Part 2

Wandering Aesthetics’ Open Door Workshop ‘The Good Lie’ World Refugee Day Waters Park (Olive Street, Akron) Friday, June 26 at 7-10 pm Watch Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon in “The Good Lie,” a film about four Sudanese children orphaned after their village is massacred during the Second Sudanese Civil War. The screening is part of the free local World Refugee Day event presented by the International Institute of Akron and Free Akron Outdoor Movies, also featuring entertainment and stories by former refugees and food from Nepali Kitchen and Stray Dog Cart.


Cycle the City 12:15pm at Lock 3 (FREE) 200 S Main St, Akron Every Friday through September 11 Enjoy guided bike rides throughout Downtown! Bike and helmet provided to first 10 participants. Sign in at the Bike Kitchen at Lock 3 at 12 p.m.

Richard III & As You Like It Rubber City Shakespeare Opens June 26 at Summit Artspace ($14) 140 E Market St, Akron Rubber City Shakespeare brings affordable Shakespeare and classical drama to downtown Akron. In Richard III, the bitter, power-hungry Richard seeks to take the throne from his older brother Edward, and decides to kill anyone he


Lifesource Yoga Sunday, June 28 at 6 pm 300 N Cleveland Massillon Rd, Akron Once a month, local theatre group Wandering Aesthetics hosts a free workshop called The Open Door in the Fairlawn/Montrose area. Each event centers on a different topic that is run by a teacher who is well versed in that particular subject. The last Open Door focused on the teachings of the Buddhist monk, Chogyam Trungpa, and how his work applies to theatre. While there, we practiced mindful meditation and went through a few exercises. They do accept donations. – Bronlynn Thurman

has to in order to become king. Set in the 1960s during Woodstock, As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and, eventually love, in the Forest of Arden. With a company of 16 actors, both shows will be performed in true rotating repertory, performing a show one night and the other show the next night. Visit for tickets. Boston Mills Artfest Runs June 26-28 and July 2-5 ($8 regular admission / $54 for Preview Parties) Boston Mills 7100 Riverview Rd, Peninsula The Boston Mills Artfest takes place over two completely separate weekends: June 26th-28th and July 2nd-5th, each featuring different artists. All artwork on display can be purchased at the show. In addition to the featured artists, there is also food, wine, and craft beer. It’s the best way to celebrate summer and fine art! The Preview Parties feature food, wine and craft beer, as well as live entertainment. Ohio Shakespeare Festival at Stan Hywet Much Ado About Nothing 7:30pm, July 2-5, 9-12, 16-19 at Stan Hywet ($28) 714 N Portage Path, Akron

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Sunday, June 28 – Tuesday 30 at 7 pm The Balch Street Theater ($10) 220 S Balch St, Akron “Goosetown” tells the story of a man pulled from the hills of West Virginia, sent to work on the line at Akron Rubber Company. He finds a place to sleep in the arms of a desperate single mother in the mostly German neighborhood of Goosetown. Her son, Ken, is a bright and ethereal figure who inspires the worker's devotion at first sight. But Goosetown is a strange place, and the times and the terrain – not to mention the obsessive machinations of a powerful industry tycoon whose heart has been blackened by greed and grief-all seem to conspire to destroy the man's simple mission: save the boy.

“By taking a lot of time off work”

Sandi, office manager, The Valley “A lot of relaxing around the pool, cookouts with my family and walking the dog”

Stephanie, bartender, West Akron “I am going to read every book on my wish list, starting with Game of Thrones"

Enjoy a wonderful evening of Shakespeare under the stars in the Lagoon area of Stan Hywet. Written by Shakespeare in 1599, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's later comedies. The play’s sub-plot, the “merry war” of the sexes between Beatrice and Benedick, displays a carefully matched intelligence, humor, and humanity that is unmatched among the couples who populate Shakespeare's comedies.


June 24 for the third annual Grand Derby presented by the City of Akron and Fallsway Equipment Company! From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., grandparents and their grandchildren or other relatives can eat lunch, tour the Derby’s Hall of Fame and Museum and race down the 989-foot Derby Downs track in gravity powered Soap Box Derby cars. You Can Pickle That! 7pm at Old Trail School ($30) 2315 Ira Rd, Bath From old-fashioned crock pickles to pickled peaches, this class will teach all you need to know to make tasty pickled products for home and gifts. You'll get recipes for cucumbers and other pickles, and learn how to make tasty relishes (including one that uses up all those green tomatoes).


Third Annual Grand Derby 10am at Derby Downs ($10) 789 Derby Downs, Akron Grandparents and grandchildren from Northeast Ohio are invited to Derby Downs on Wednesday,

Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War 7pm at G.A.R. Hall (FREE) 1785 Main St, Peninsula Jesse James became one of the most famous men to come out of the Civil War. So who was this young man? Guerrilla fighter, cold blooded robber and killer, symbol of the ongoing southern resistance to the oppressive Radical Republican government after the war, a martyr to the “lost


Arts, Culture & Entertainment cause,” and changing times.The true story of his life, from birth to murderous death, will be presented, with some humor, in all of its military, criminal and cultural colors. Julie McCullough 8pm, June 25-27 ($7-$14) Funny Stop Comedy Club 1757 State Rd, Cuyahoga Falls If you were a viewer of late 80's and early 90's sit-coms, you might recognize Julie as the nanny to Alan Thicke's kids on Growing Pains, or the centerfold of Playboy Magazine in 1986. In more recent times, Julie McCullough has become the Funny Bunny, performing at such venues as the Hollywood Improv and the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Who knows when you’ll get another chance to see "Funny Bunny" at the Funny Stop?

SUNDAY, JUNE 28 Akron RubberDucks Comicon 2:05pm at Canal Park ($5) 300 S Main St, Akron Come out for free comic books, dress up like your favorite superheroes and even meet your favorite superheroes on this fun day at the ballpark!

Goosetown: The Devil’s Milk, Part 2 Sunday, June 28 – Tuesday 30 at 7 pm The Balch Street Theater ($10) 220 S Balch St, Akron “Goosetown” tells the story of a man pulled from the hills of West Virginia, sent to work on the line at Akron Rubber Company. He finds a place to sleep in the arms of a desperate single mother in the mostly German neighborhood of Goosetown. Her son, Ken, is a bright and ethereal figure who inspires the worker's devotion at first sight. But Goosetown is a strange place, and the times FRIDAY, JUNE 26 and the terrain – not to mention the obsessive World Refugee Day Event machinations of a powerful industry tycoon whose 7pm at Waters Park (FREE) heart has been blackened by greed and grief-Olive St, Akron all seem to conspire to destroy the man's simple The International Institute of Akron, in collaboration mission: save the boy. with Free Akron Outdoor Movies, will host a free event in honor of World Refugee Day. Please join us for entertainment, food from Nepali Kitchen and TUESDAY, JUNE 30 Stray Dog Cart, stories from former refugees, and Ohio’s Best Amateur Comedian Contest the screening of the movie The Good Lie. 8pm at Funny Stop Comedy Club ($5) 1757 State Rd, Cuyahoga Falls See the "Best of the Best" from months of SATURDAY, JUNE 27 preliminary qualifying rounds, then quarter-final Thirsty Dog 8k & 1m and semi-final eliminations battle to see which of 10am at InfoCision Stadium them can wow the audiences and our judges to ($25 for 1m / $55 for 8k) take home the crown as "Ohio's Best Amateur 361 S Union St, Akron Comedian". Call 330-923-4700 for reservations. Get Thirsty with the first of the Akron Marathon’s new Rubber City Race Series! The Thirsty Dog 8k & 1-mile course highlights The University of Akron's WEDNESDAY, JULY 1 campus and a unique tour of downtown Akron. Rib, White & Blue Festival Visit for tickets. 11am, July 1-4 (FREE) Downtown Akron Firestone Park Summer Celebration This highly anticipated summer tradition, sponsored Festival & Parade by the City of Akron, features the biggest and 2pm at Firestone Park Community Center (FREE) baddest rib vendors vying for cash prizes and 1480 Girard St, Akron bragging rights as they travel from all over Kick off Firestone Park’s yearlong centennial the United States. Don’t miss the free nightly celebration with a parade, led by Harvey Firestone’s performances at Lock 3! grandson Kimball, trolley tours around the neighborhood, inflatables, an Akron Racers softball game, and more! FRIDAY, JULY 3

Glendale Steps Murals Opening Ceremony 3pm at Glendale Steps (FREE) Join The City of Akron for the unveiling of last summer’s Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience - murals at the Glendale Steps!


inflatables, live music and more with a festival on Main Street, then watch the RubberDucks take on the Bowie Baysox and celebrate Independence Day with fireworks after the game!

SATURDAY, JULY 4 Fourth on the Field 6:30pm at Canal Park ($5) 300 S Main St, Akron Spend 4th of July at Canal Park! Enjoy the movie Shrek on the field at 7:55pm, followed by fireworks at 9:45pm.

TUESDAY, JULY 7 Walking Tour of Cascade Plaza 12pm at Cascade Plaza (FREE) S Main St, Akron Join Nick Moskos, GPD Group, and Jason Zajac, engineer for city of Akron, on a tour of the newly renovated Cascade Plaza. Nick and Jason will share background on the design, engineering and infrastructure changes to the plaza.


Exploring Ex + Purgare at Hazel Tree Interiors Two local artists, Francisca Ugalde and Pamela Testa, are featured in “Ex + Purgare” the current exhibition at Hazel Tree Interiors. The show’s title, “Ex + Purgage,” was developed as the two artists worked separately on the processing and purging of ideas in their work.

Testa, a printmaker, says her work in printmaking and sculpture are “process-oriented and always include some sort of repetitiveness in the making. I like the use of multiples and the imagery usually comes from nature or natural objects,” she explains.

Ugalde works with oil on canvas and mixed media such as oil markers, pencil, acrylic on paper, then mounts her work on wood.

Testa uses intaglio and relief but puts a spin on the traditional printmaking methods by changing colors, cutting, and incorporating unusual materials, usually found objects.

“This particular body of work is about the purge of these images, out of my head and onto paper and canvas, giving them new life,” Ugalde said.

The show, “Ex + Purgare,” will run through August 1, 2015 in the gallery at Hazel Tree Interiors located at 143 W. Market St., in Akron.

‘Heat’ 10:30pm at The Nightlight Cinema ($8.50) 30 N High St, Akron Why would you be doing anything else when you could be watching Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Michael Mann's ‘Heat’? Also showing July 4 at 10:30pm. Akron RubberDucks Independence Day Celebration 7:05pm at Canal Park ($5) 300 S Main St, Akron Come down to the ballpark early and enjoy

Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 /

THE Devil Strip |


United Way of Summit County

Digging in…

WhaT ThIS place needS IS MORe paThWayS OUT Of pOveRTy.

The Big Big Mess big, big deal IS A

Taking refuge from zombies in the Land of Plenty words by M. Sophie Hamad; photos by Svetla Morrison

United Way is a champion for building a more prosperous and sustainable Summit County community, for all of us. That’s why we support Bridges Summit County, a community collaboration to reduce poverty in a comprehensive way. Bridges Summit County brings people from all sectors and economic classes together to support those who are moving out of poverty.


Join our work to end poverty in Summit County! One-day Bridges Summit County community workshops are an opportunity to understand the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty. This training also provides tools and strategies for everyone in our community to help with the effort to prevent, reduce and alleviate poverty. Find out more at:

“GeTTInG ahead” WORkShOpS

Are you looking for your own pathway out of poverty? Getting Ahead is a series of workshops that help people in poverty build their resources for a more prosperous future for themselves, their families and their community. Each workshop has 8 to 12 people, and meets weekly for nine weeks. Find out more:


The Big Big Mess reading series isn’t too messy, but eager for spoken word. It’s no wonder Morse it does make the heart feel big, full, almost bursting exclaimed, “I love Akron!” before beginning his with excitement over its literary awesomeness. reading. Friends Katie Mertz and Michael Krutel took over curation of the series when founders Nick Sturm and Alexis Pope moved away from Akron. The duo has been working together for two years. They make it seem effortless, though there is no doubt a lot of work that goes into the organization of these readings. This reading was exceptionally big in its offering: five authors! 1. Emily Troia, NEOMFA student from Cleveland 2. Suzanne Hodsden, Denison and Bowling Green State graduate from Akron 3. Jenny Boychuk, Canadian resident and University of Victoria 4. Michael Morse, English teacher at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in NYC 5. Anna Rose Welch, Bowling Green State MFA graduate from Erie, PA Land of Plenty provided a perfect alternate location for the May reading, since the usual venue, Annabell’s Bar and Lounge, had been taken over by zombies for the evening. Although this time the event was BYOB, there was still a raffle for curious door prizes. Kristi Wall’s eclectic shop set a mellow tone for the evening. The audience sat on various vintage furnishings surrounded by a magical array of sparkling crystals and gems, bowls of smooth gemstones, terrariums, globes, art from all over the world, a naked lady ashtray, jewelry, earthy incense, a real stuffed fox, and countless other vintage and modern treasures.

The overlap in themes was surreal. All five writers explored time and space, spirituality, and alchemy—all very fitting, considering the surroundings. Throughout the evening, the authors read words that appeared in the previous authors’ work. It was as if each reading was spawned from the previous readers’ words. It didn’t come off as intentional, more intuitive. Troia, Boychuk, and Morse read poems that tempered perfectly with Hodsden’s hilarious (i.e. snort-laugh-inducing) excerpt of fiction. The reading closed with Welch’s saucy poems—she made sure the evening lived up to the warning on the Big Big Mess webpage: “it gets sexy-hot.” Readings take place one Saturday a month from 6:30 to 9 pm at Annabell’s on West Market Street in Highland Square. Check their Facebook page for details, or visit their webpage at Those interested in reading can contact Mertz and Krutel via Facebook, or e-mail

This isn’t your typical open-mic night. Mertz and Krutel select writers from around the country and put them in front of an enthusiastic audience of literature lovers. Since there aren’t a lot of these kinds of writerly gatherings happening in Akron (yet), the followers of Big Big Mess are devoted and


What’s Inside

Where Greek mythology,

BYOB wine & art mix by Jessica Conti

The Palladian Palette is a DIY art studio located in the Northside District. Created by Rachel E. Gentner, an Akron native who named Palladian Palette in reference to Greek mythology. After attending the University of Akron where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing—minoring in Art History—Rachel she did a series of paintings based on Greek muses and goddesses. The word Palladian relates to the Goddess Athena pertaining to the study of crafts and education. Which is exactly what the Palladian Palette does – it educates. The Palladian Palette is a place for artists and nonartists to create. It offers a wide variety of classes taught by local and professionally trained artists that have a vast knowledge in various areas of art. The classes range in prices, but the offerings are always the same: come in, BYOB. (if you want), gain some perspective, create and have fun in an encouraging environment while doing it. Rachel was a substitute art teacher at Wadsworth High School where she noticed that her students wanted a place beyond the school walls to create

and foster an art community. The artists would meet at the local library and while the meetings eventually dwindled, Rachel knew she was on to something. She spent the next few years thinking of how she could take that interest and make it a sustainable business for the overall Akron community. While in the brainstorming phases, Rachel was diagnosed with melanoma. “I decided life is too short not to follow your dreams because you never know when it will be taken away from you.” And thus the idea of a brick-and-mortar was officially born. The Palladian Palette started in 2013 in a small discreet location. Since the opening, Rachel and her ideas have expanded. The studio offers painting, ceramics, stamping, specialized classes and a

place to book a fun art inspired party or event. Rachel recently purchased The Stamp Pad that was previously located in a house in Zoar, Ohio. The Stamp Pad is a full line of rubber stamps and materials to create greeting card style cards. Which gives the community a whole other way to get creative.

an environment where they feel comfortable expressing themselves.” And that’s exactly what people do at the Palladian Palette—they express themselves through their art with the guidance of Rachel and her teachers. It bridges the gap between those that can create and those that don’t know they’re capable of tapping their inner artist.

Rachel works with the Downtown Akron Partnership during the Art Walks and various other events that expose local residents to art—typically, residents who would otherwise not be exposed to such a thing. Which is where the true beauty and art community of the Palladian Palette comes into play—it’s not just for the established artist. “The majority of the clientele has no artistic experience,” Rachel says. “I feel that everyone has that creative ‘bug’ inside—they just need


{Our little baby's all grows up} CG&FS partners with Thirsty Dog for 6th annual ‘Growing Up Akron’ by Sarah Stubbs After reading our last issue, you’re well aware that there are events celebrating Akron going on all summer long: events that often involve opportunities for tasting different Akron foods and booze, hearing local music, hanging out with friends and family and, most importantly, giving back.

CG&FS will continue its tradition of hosting “Growing Up Akron” at the Thirsty Dog Brewery yet again this year. Akronites and friends can sip Thirsty Dog brews or Norka Soda with Swenson’s, SkyWay, Retro Dog, Old Carolina, Mustard Seed Market, Gino’s Pizza, Mary Coyle ice cream or Nuevo Modern Mexican.

Well, Child Guidance & Family Solutions, Summit County’s top mental healthcare agency serving children and families, will wrap up the summer with their 6th annual event, “Growing Up Akron,” which so happens to encompass just a little bit of everything: food, brews, music and a lot of giving back.

In addition to the suds and popular Akron cuisine, there will be live music at the brewery, too. Roxy Moron, the alternative rock band who provided the entertainment for “Growing Up Akron” last summer, is coming back.

“Growing Up Akron” directly benefits those helped by CG&FS’s services: providing mental and behavioral healthcare for Akron families – especially children and adolescents.

The live entertainment will not be limited to Roxy Moron’s rock. The Rubber City Roller Girls, caricature artists, and a Chinese auction will keep guests engaged and entertained all night alongside the rockers.

CG&FS aims to aide those who have witnessed violence or trauma, suffered abuse or have been bullied. The organization is made up of qualified child psychiatrists, psychologists, behavioral therapists, counselors and case managers

“Growing Up Akron” will take place on Friday, August 14 from 6 – 9 p.m.

CG&FS suggests that guests leave their swanky party shirts and dresses hanging in the closet and celebrate the “spirit of Akron” casually and comfortably. Aside from getting to party at a brewery with your favorite Akronites, the benefits fundraised at this event will last much longer than one night.

who all aim to help children grow up healthy in mind and body. CG&FS is no stranger to seeking and executing initiatives that not only benefit the community’s health, but also foster comradery in the Akron area. Stop by any “Food Truck Friday” from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the CG&FS parking lot and buy a lunch; some of the proceeds are donated from the trucks to CG&FS. After you #eatforacause, you won’t need any more convincing that you’ll need to grow up Akron, too! Tickets for “Growing Up Akron” are $50 and sponsorships are available. For reservations and more information about “Growing Up Akron,” go to or contact the Development office directly at (330) 384-2882 or email



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THE Devil Strip |


Akron History

The Backstory on



Margaretha’s legacy of entrepreneurship evident at Jilly’s Jill Bacon Madden, who owns Jilly’s Music Room, says her place, which was Northside Bar & Grill before she bought and renovated it, was one of the original bars opened by Margaretha Burkhardt as a way to increase sales of Burkhardt Beer.

eer and brewing have deep roots in Akron. One of the leading breweries, Burkhardt Brewing Company, was one with lasting import as well as an interesting story. German immigrant Wilhelm Burkhardt first came to the area to work at a brewery in Cleveland. In 1874, he arrived in Akron to become brewmaster and eventually part owner (with Frederick Gaessler) at the already established Wolf Ledge Brewery in South Akron. A fire destroyed the wooden buildings of the brewery five years later. Gaessler sold his interests to Burkhardt, leaving Wilhelm to re-build Wolf Ledge Brewery by himself. Three years later, in 1882, Wilhelm died, leaving behind a widow and three young children. In a story that makes me proud to be an Akronite, Wilhelm’s widow took over her husband’s business, rolling up her sleeves to build a company that would support her family for the next 74 years. One of the first things Margaretha did was change

the name to Burkhardt’s Brewery. In 1903 the company incorporated as M. Burkhardt Brewing Company and she raised her sons in the business. Margaretha was the head of the brewery for 27 years (1882-1909) until her son Gus took over. However, she continued to work for the company as director for another 16 years, until her death in 1925. Burkhardt Brewing Company survived prohibition by brewing near beer, making soft drinks, manufacturing ice and by the strength of their other diversified holdings. After the end of prohibition, Burkhardt’s returned to brewing beer and benefited from the loyalty of rubber workers. The brewery continued to grow into one of the area’s leading regional beers. Unfortunately, in the post-WWII era, national breweries began to dominate the market and force smaller companies out. Margaretha’s grandson William was president of the company in 1956 when it was sold to the

larger regional, Burger Brewing of Cincinnati. By 1964, Burger closed due to bankruptcy. But that’s not the end of the story. Some of Burkhardt’s large complex of buildings still stands. When you go to Grant Street to visit Thirsty Dog Brewing and Aqueduct Brewing, you’re standing in the old Burkhardt’s brewery building. The blonde brick building next door labeled The M. Burkhardt Brewing Company with the gorgeous ornamental horse-head keystones over the doorways is actually the former stables and ice house facility. Can you imagine a time when horses pulled wagons filled with kegs of beer around Akron’s streets? Another cool connection: one of Burkhardt’s former brewmasters brought his nephew, Jacob Paquin, to Akron from Alsace-Lorraine. Paquin ended up starting the original Norka Beverage Company, which was in business from 1924-1962. We might not be enjoying NORKA today if it weren’t for the Burkhardt Brewing Company.


Why Ron, what’s the with R. Shea Brewing?

Big Idea

Name: Ron Shea, Jr. Age: 40 Hometown/ Home now: Akron all my life. Occupation: Starting a brewery, running a website for triathletes. Contact:

What’s your Big idea? As corny as it sounds, bring good, local beer to Akron using Akron water and American ingredients from a 100% Akronite living in the Valley during most of his formative years. My place is a reflection of me as a person, so it's not just about the beer. Why pursue it? The climate is good. I'm 40, so I have learned a lot, researched plenty and have put some money


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away for an opportunity like this—to go bigger and professional. When did you know your Big Idea was a good idea? Not to sound cocky, but it was always a good idea. It was just a matter of timing. I like to please people with a good product. I have great customer service and I love the customer! It was always a matter of timing. The timing is now right.

How do you hope your Big Idea helps Akron grow? Local breweries were always a big part of Akron and still are with Thirsty Dog, Hoppin’ Frog and Trailhead. I hope to build on that with a place that is clearly unique from those mentioned. I have tried to involve my kids in every step of the way in this so they feel ownership too—“yeah, I did built that!” I would love to have them take over years from now with their fresh ideas.


Arts & Entertainment

Empire Comedy Night

brings laughs, reveals growing local scene by Connie Williams originally published on June 11, 2015 at

There’s something funny going on at The Empire Concert Club and Bar—or perhaps I should say someone funny? Once a month, The Empire hosts a comedy night at 1305 E. Tallmadge Ave. As one comedian points out, this venue offers a comfortable mix of rock club and comedy club, placing audience members close enough to enjoy the contagiousness of their laughter. I had the opportunity to experience Comedy Night at The Empire when May headliner Matt Farkas invited the Akronist to the show. While I had never been to The Empire before, I’ve heard positive local buzz about the venue. I had also seen several of May’s scheduled funny men perform at The Electric Pressure Cooker Open Mic at Pub Bricco and I knew that they had the potential to deliver lots of laughter. I wasn’t disappointed. The monthly event is produced by comic Matt Brady and features several local comedians. Brady, in addition to producing the show, is also the emcee. He has been putting together comedy shows at Akron venues for about three years. “I started (producing) my first comedy show at Annabell’s in Highland Square. I ran those shows for 27 months, one show a month. I did that to build a comedy scene in Akron to hopefully encourage new people to come out and try it, and also to bring comedy to Highland Square.”


The comedy scene Brady envisions is growing, and it turns out he is not the only comic in Akron with big ideas about building the funny business in our city. There is a growing number of men and women who, rather than leaving Northeast Ohio for bigger cities with more established opportunities, are choosing to stick around and build something here, in the city they love.

and they have the ingredients for that recipe.”

It’s ideal for comics who like to push boundaries or have different sensibilities. The more alternative venues for comedy, the stronger the scene.”

Comedian Erik Cribley, a fellow who is compellingly both odd and entertaining, has an undeniably unique brand of humor. He shares observations of his world with an endearing complete lack of self-editing. Cribley has an impressive grasp on nerd culture, and his act clearly reflects his ability to laugh with, and not at, fellow nerds.

After the featured acts and a brief taste of the comedy of Anthony Savatt and Tommy Eckel, the packed house was ready for its headliner. Brady announced Matt Farkas and he made his way to the stage. As I mentioned earlier, I had seen Farkas perform before at an open mic. His open mic performance was really entertaining, but this night was different. The people in this audience were there to see comedy—his comedy. On that particular May evening, there was a camera crew in the audience filming the show for a DVD Farkas will soon be releasing. (continued on page 25)

On the evening I spent at The Empire, Eric Brewer is a Brady emceed funny guy who also Headliner Matt Farkas was the show, Farkas happens to bear a clearly confident and within his element. headlined, and Eric striking resemblance (Photo: Holly Scarito) Brewer, Chris Clem to actor Bradley and Erik Cribley Cooper. Brewer uses were featured performers. The show also included that similarity to his advantage in a charming and short bonus performances by Tommy Eckel and self-deprecating way that lets the audience know Kent comedian and producer Anthony Savatt. that looking like a movie star, in the wrong hands, With that lineup I was expecting a good time, and can go from charming to creepy in a hot minute. each of these performers, in their own unique way, Brewer has been performing standup comedy for brought the fun. about five years, and for now is committed to the Akron comedy scene. “I’m happy here, and I Matt Brady started off the evening, bringing his really enjoy being in a mentoring position for the intense energy and an edgy vibe that would be younger comics. I really don’t want to leave Akron the common thread in a diverse lineup of comedic for a bigger stage until the Akron comedy scene is styles. When we talked later he spoke of that vibe, thriving. I want to leave knowing that I helped build and of the “science” that we mere mortals do not something special in my hometown.” realize is being employed around us as we watch the show. “The lights have to be dark but not too Chris Clem, a former “Who Wants to be a dark, the seating has to be comfortable for both Millionaire” $100,000 winner, humorously shares the audience and the comedian on stage. Seating his stories in an “everyman” style. Clem is both should be claustrophobic feeling, close to the stage relatable and funny. Whether he is describing his and to each other because laughter is contagious. embarrassment at seeing himself interacting with The sound has to be that right mix of loud but not Meredith Viera on national TV or discussing his too demanding, and The Empire gives me all that. sleep apnea, Clem manages to “find the funny” in, During comedy shows at The Empire, I like it to for most of us, life’s ordinary indignations. He has have that punk rock look but a comedy club vibe been doing standup for about eight years and has toured extensively in Northeast Ohio and beyond. He likes The Empire because “…clubs like this are Comedian Eric Brewer perfect for independent shows, as well as material (Photo: Holly Scarito) that’s a little edgier or rougher around the edges.

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out and about runners refuse to miss this event, but it also brings in people from all over to enjoy our city.

The Blue Line

gets some company… and its own Brew!

This year the Akron Marathon has announced that they will raise the bar by adding two races earlier in the year to create the three part Rubber City Race Series. The first leg of the series ends with a beer fest, the second includes a lap on Goodyear’s hallowed “Proving Ground,” and the series will finish with the main events of the marathon itself. If these unique races alone aren’t enough to entice you into joining the series, there will be a series medal awarded to runners who participate in all three events. That’s right… FOUR medals!

there and gear up for the big race in September. The marathon is also using the Rubber City Race Series as a way to involve areas of Akron that don’t get run in the marathon. I am so excited to run in the Thirsty Dog event and can’t wait to see what the other races in the series have to offer this year. One thing is for certain; the Akron Marathon is working hard to create an allencompassing Akron experience. Lace up, Akron, and follow the Rubber City Race Series all the way to the Blue Line!

by Katie Wheeler

Unless you have managed to find a way to travel around Akron without using any of the streets, you have at some point seen a bright blue line painted on the road. Runners know this blue line well, as it marks a route that most of us have put in a lot of miles on. Friends and families of runners know this blue line well, as many have spent time cheering alongside it. The community of Akron should know this blue line, as it represents one of the best run events in Akron. This is the blue line of the Akron Marathon. The Akron Marathon started in 2003, and has grown into an event loved by runners and spectators alike. I’ve run in this race for a number of years, and it is hands down one of my favorites. It has developed a reputation for being very well organized, very well supported, and overall just a blast to participate in. Not only do many local

On June 27, the Akron Marathon is partnering with Thirsty Dog Brewery for the first race in the Rubber City Race Series. The Thirsty Dog 8K and 1 mile run both finish on the 50 yard line of the University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium, where Thirsty Dog will be putting on a craft beer festival. They have brewed a beer exclusively for this race called the Blue Line Brew, and finishers will have a chance to check it out, along with other craft beers, in the Thirsty Dog Runners’ Circle. 8K finishers will score 5 drink tickets and cool swag for finishing, like a medal that doubles as a bottle opener, a t-shirt and a commemorative pint glass. If you’re running the 1-miler, you will be rewarded with a t-shirt and a Thirsty Dog root beer in a commemorative mug.

Thirsty Dog 8k & 1-mile Rubber City Race Series June 27, 2015 at 10 a.m. InfoCision Stadium Cost: 8k - $55; 1m - $25

The only thing more exciting to me than the idea of Akron having a race series is the reason behind it. The race organizers wanted to give runners a training path to help them get to the marathon. These races are strategically scheduled with distances that will help even a new runner get out

Outdoor & athletic events Races and special runs Rubber City Race Series, 8k, 1 mile June 27, Akron

Stow Firecracker 4 Miles (4 mile and 3k) July 4th, Stow Firecracker 5k and Youth Race July 4th, Hudson

Liberty Park/Pond Brook Conservation Area July 7, 6:30 - 8 p.m. 3973 E. Aurora Rd., Twinsburg Tuesday, July 21, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Silver Creek Metro Park/Pheasant Run Area 5000 Hametown Rd., Norton

Health and Wellness

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Portage Lakes Running Club - Roads Every Tuesday at 6pm at various places around Akron Crooked River Trail Runners - Trails Every Thursday at 6:30pm at various locations in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Akron Bicycle Club Every Thursday at 6:30pm from Deep Lock Quarry Parking Lot

Rubber City Race Series, Half Marathon, 10k August 15, Akron •

Complimentary Community Classes at Lululemon Akron Showroom Saturday mornings at 9am


Ongoing Run and Ride!

APEX Running Wednesdays after work, this run starts at 6:30 pm from the Urban Eats Trailhead in Akron's Downtown Historic District and continues along the towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Bike Party Akron A festive evening social ride through the City of Akron. Every 3rd Friday of the month for 10-12 miles. Bring Lights, Bring Music. Ride starts @ Lock 3 @ 7pm


Hike and Picnic

Feeding the Birds (AND THE KIDS)

at Seiberling Nature Realm by M. Sophie Hamad

Nothing says Ohio like feeding a cardinal out of your hand, and nothing says Akron like the Seiberling Nature Realm. Wait, what? Is this a fairy tale or something? No. This is real life. At the Seiberling Nature Realm, birds will land in the palm of your hand to feed. They prefer black sunflower seeds. The chickadees like to pick through the seeds, one at a time, testing for tastiness, I suppose. They’ll sift through them, throwing the unwanted specimen over the side of your outstretched palm until the perfect one is found, and then flitter off into a rhododendron bush. I am used to this behavior, as I’ve had the pleasure of hand-feeding chickadees on several occasions at the Nature Realm. Sometimes I get lucky and I can entice a titmouse or a goldfinch. I always try to lure the cardinals, but they are skeptics. They watch from the sides of the path, chirping and taunting. So we fed some birds and then attempted a hike with un-napped toddlers. Seiberling Nature Realm is a 104-acre park that is full of opportunities to explore and study nature. It is especially great for children, with its 10,000-square-foot activity-filled visitor center. The Cherry Lane and Fernwood trails are short—0.5 and 0.6, respectively. The Seneca trail is a little longer at 1.5. It was a hot day, and we had already walked the paved path that leads to the weeping garden and the campfire area where some of the best bird-feeding happens, so we chose the Cherry Lane trail, which includes a suspension bridge over a 45-foot ravine. At the end of the hike, we decided to go down to the pond where we had seen lots of birds so we could try to land a few more. We got another


chickadee. We almost got a titmouse, but it flew away. Again the cardinals came to watch, and I thought nothing of it. My husband E.J. has a certain kind of charm, though, and apparently it appeals to cardinals. For the first time in the five years that we have been feeding the birds at the Nature Realm, a cardinal landed in E.J.’s hand. It was magical. After watching birds munch on seeds, we were starting to get hungry. We could have eaten at the campfire area picnic tables, but we wanted somewhere a little less crowded, so we walked back toward the parking lot and then turned off onto another path to the picnic tables in Kremer Garden (which has a wheelchair-accessible picnic table, by the way). We unpacked our picnic cooler. It was packed full of food from the new Mustard Seed Market in Highland Square. We packed a smoked turkey wrap to split—it had pistachios in it, which was pretty delicious—but we mostly chose foods from the salad bar, which is actually two salad bars with more ingredients than you can fathom. It is a salad-lover’s dream. We made a couple side salads and filled four containers with four different pasta salads: backyard macaroni salad; another creamy macaroni salad that consisted of peas, cheddar and tri-color spiral noodles; a Caprese style pasta salad with bowties, fresh basil, halved grape tomatoes, and whole mini mozzarella balls; and Szechuan noodle salad, which I had hoped would be a sesame noodle salad. It was still tasty, but I really like my cold Asian noodle salads to be loaded with toasted sesame oil and tamari.

salads, in my opinion, although E.J. preferred the backyard macaroni. The kids, of course, preferred the red grapes and chocolate cake with white frosting we got from the Seed’s grab-and-go cold case.

brained children into the car and drove home, gloating over our new cardinal friend. // Writer M. Sophie Hamad is hesitant to ever feed her

After dessert, we loaded our screaming, sugar-

children chocolate cake again, scrumptious though it was.

The Caprese style salad won the battle of the pasta

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food and culture

Why Northeast Ohio is Beertopia

We felt like trying some new beers in some new places so we asked for your favorite beers, favorite watering holes and favorite local breweries. Y’all responded with dozens and dozens of answers so here are some of our favorites about your favorites. – Chris Horne

What you’re drinkin’ and where you’re drinkin’ it By Audrey Quinn

“Thirsty Dog and the Tasting Room at Hoppin' Frog. No reason to go to Cleveland for good beer. We have plenty of our own in Akron!” - Amanda Mickelson “My favorite place to tip a few back: Angelina’s pizza or the Windsor Pub. My favorite local brew: Thirsty Dog’s Smoked Black Lager.” - George Terhesh “Loved the R.Shea brews I tried on tap at the new Mustard Seed. Their Rubber City Red and Akpov were both fantastic! Definitely worth checking out these local beers!” – Ben Brosius “My favorite spot would be Craft Beer Bar. Best local brewery is Mad Cap!” - Rachel Loza “I've loved Thirty Dog Raspberry Ale for 15 years! My favorite summer beer! …Love it so much we served it at our wedding! …Best place to drink is either Crave downtown, or Ray's in Highland Square.” - Dawn Darkow “Love a super hoppy IPA. Hoppin' Frog has some tasty brews. Favorite place to drink it in Akron is at Jilly's Music Room, listening to a good band (or playing there and drinking there!)” - Ken Ertel

“Aqueduct cider and Thirsty Dog raspberry. They are made and served in the same building. I prefer to consume when Stray Dog is also there serving delicious food.” - Charly Murphy “The best beer I've ever had is Infusion C from Hoppin' Frog!” - Eddie Whitt

“Pretty much anything Eli makes at Trailhead, which is also one of my favorite places to drink a beer. And being a hophead too, I'm also a huge fan of (Great Lakes) Chillwave.” - Heather Roszczyk “Always great to go to Lockview for a drink! Thirsty Dog makes a few fantastic beers that I've only had in the tasting room.” - Katie Carver Reed

“I love Wednesday at Cashmere Cricket in the Falls. They infuse a different beer every week with herbs and fruit.” - Holly Lewis

Newbies Guide to

Beer By Audrey Quinn

Ever confused by the seemingly endless beer jargon? Want to better understand the basics of craft beer? Read on for a primer on the many different types of craft beer.

“Leffe Blonde at Annabell's.” Matthew Feeney


medium-high to intense hop bitterness, crisp, dry beer ABV: five to eight percent Flavor: fruity, floral and citrus-like Pairs with: pairs well with spicy dishes and bold, sweet desserts Meal plan: Indian food with carrot cake for dessert


“Liking the Belgian White and Blackberry Wheat at Trailhead in the Valley. Market District has a great changing draft list (and it's great to grocery shop with a beer!)” - Andrea Fowler Irland


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Lager Taste: ABV: Flavor:

dry and a little bitter four to six percent flowery and bready, often with a caramel sweetness Pairs with: a wide variety of foods Meal plan: hot dogs and lemon bars for dessert





Taste: ABV: Flavor:

not very hoppy, malt profile four to eight percent chocolate and caramel notes, sometimes a nutty character Pairs with: hearty foods and nutty desserts Meal plan: grilled salmon and almond cake

Porter Taste:

“Blueberry Honey Whit at Aqueduct Brewing in Akron.” - Sara Hernandez

(India Pale Ale, American style)


“Best beer bars (using knowledge, glassware, beer temp, etc.): Cashmere Cricket, The Office, Market District and Lizardville. Best beers: Any variation of Boris from Hoppin’ Frog and any of the barrel-aged beers from Thirsty Dog.” - Yuri Szewczyk

mild to moderate roastiness, wide range of hoppines ABV: four to seven percent Flavor: often a significant caramel, nutty or toffee flavor Pairs with: roasted or smoked food and cookies Meal plan: barbecue sausages and chocolate peanut butter cookies for dessert

slightly burnt tasting; often low sweetness and high bitterness ABV: four to seven percent flavor: strong roasted malt flavor; often coffee, chocolate and caramel undertones Pairs with: overpowers most dishes, best as a dessert beer Meal plan: chocolate raspberry mousse cake



Taste: ABV: Flavor:

lightly hopped six to nine percent malt flavor; slight chocolate and roasted characters Pairs with: spicy food and fried chicken Meal plan: Korean barbecue with white chocolate cheesecake for dessert


Brew City, USA

Happy Hour with The Akronist

Why Aqueduct believes Akron can be a craft beer mecca by Nick Nussen, originally published on January 6, 2015 at

The owners of Aqueduct Brewing Co. know they are building on a strong and storied foundation of beer making. Robert Hernandez and Dale Dorn opened Akron’s newest nano-brewery last October in the back corner of the former Burkhardt Brewing Co. complex on 529 Grant St. (the same building now occupied by Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.), hoping to bridge the city’s past to its promising future. “Akron used to be, and could be again, a big brewing town,” says Hernandez, citing Burkhardt, Renner Brewing Co. and other breweries that made Northeast Ohio a hub for beer drinkers in the preProhibition era. He adds that Aqueduct is the latest of several craft breweries to open in the Akron area, including Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, Trailhead Brewing Co. and MadCap Brewing Co. “There’s a very big craft beer scene in Northeast Ohio right now,” says Hernandez. “People want something different — different flavors and experiences. That’s what craft beer has done.” Developer Ronald Bassak, who purchased the five-story Burkhardt building in 1998, after it had been abandoned for nearly 40 years, and leased it to Thirsty Dog in 2006, says he recently has been contacted by individuals interested in distilling whiskey and making fermented tea elsewhere in the complex.

bursting at the seams with brewing and beer and the whole culture that surrounds it, and people walking around the property, having a good time,” says Dorn, an Akron police sergeant.

Ale,” “Ceres Honey Whit,” “Poseidon’s Pilsner,” “Persephone Pumpkin Ale,” “Anubis Amber,” “Pegasus Smoked Chocolate Porter” and “Silenus Stout.”

Hernandez, who lives on Aqueduct Street in Akron (the namesake for the brewery), envisions a future in which, for beer drinkers, all roads lead to Akron.

Each is available on tap and in growlers and kegs to go. And in addition to seasonal offerings, Hernandez and Dorn plan to showcase a new beer each month, including a watermelon-flavored IPA sometime this coming spring.

“My vision is for Akron to be a mecca for craft beer, where people can taste everything from the lightest pilsner to the darkest stouts to the Russian imperial stouts that just make your hair fall out,” he describes. “I would love to see Akron change its mentality on what it is. It has been an industrial city for a ton of years, but the industries are gone. If we could change the way people see Akron and make it a brewing destination, I would love to see that.”

The tasting room — an industrial-style space with a concrete floor and poured concrete bar top, red tin ceiling and exposed brick walls — is open 4-11 pm, Monday through Friday, and noon to 11 pm on weekends. Aqueduct Brewing Co. is located in the former Burkhardt Brewing Co. complex at 529 Grant St. in Akron. All Photos courtesy of Mike Rich.

Dorn and Hernandez already are planning to increase production to keep pace with mounting demand. “In the first couple weeks, people drank us dry,” says Dorn, adding that he intends to add three barrels to their current two-barrel brewing system. He and Hernandez also plan to distribute to local bars and restaurants and to host live musical entertainment, movie nights and outdoor games. Knowing that the future always savors of the past, the former home-brewers (with the help of Hernandez’s wife, Sara, a Kent State University history graduate) named each of their beers after ancient gods and goddesses — “Prometheus Pale

Hernandez and Dorn, who encourage customers to flow between Aqueduct and Thirsty Dog, hope to see more operations open in the building. “We have a vision of this whole place steaming,

The tasting room at Aqueduct Brewing Co. (Photo: Mike Rich)


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cover story

Can beer save Akron?? Signs we might be leaving the Rubber City behind to become Brew Town, USA by Greg Milo

“Ooh,” I uttered, “I want to run the 8K sponsored by Thirsty Dog.” “That’s funny that you just want to run a race because of the beer,” my wife Terra said.




“I went there last night for my birthday. I had never been before but was dying to check it out. I ordered the margarita flight: 1 house, 1 spicy mango and 1 pomegranate with different salted and sugared rims. Our server, Tony, went above and beyond explaining to us the different tequilas, what paired well together and he recommended his favorites. They were so delicious we ordered a carafe of the pomegranate. Tony explained they use real fruit puree which is why they taste so fresh. We then ordered the empanadas and the salsa trio for appetizers. Both of which were outstanding. My girlfriend and I ordered the chorizo burrito. There are no words I can currently think of that describe how amazing that burrito was. After dinner, they brought out a churro funnel cake with homemade chocolate sauce. Everything from the food, the drinks, the atmosphere and the service is top notch. I loved it and I will be back very, very soon. Thanks again for a great experience and an awesome birthday dinner.” – Nick Mancuso

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

“Yep. That’s pretty much why.” Breweries seem to be popping up all over Akron. Of course there’s the long-standing Thirsty Dog and big-bottled Hoppin’ Frog, but there’s also R. Shea and Trailhead in the Valley, and Aqueduct shares a little space with Thirsty Dog, and then there’s all the home brewers. What’s the deal (not that I’m complaining)? The breweries are everywhere.

long ago, I left the Crave Beer Dinner envisioning a future as a brewer or restaurateur – a dream soon dashed once I was back home grading papers – but the excitement was there, and in the margins of some paper I listed the many collaborations between the community and its brewing brothers. There’s Brew at the Zoo, Ales on Rails, Blues & Brews, and they’re all exciting events and wonderful examples of Akron collaborations. Can the local brews help strengthen the Akron bond and spirit? I visited Thirsty Dog Brewing Co., which is housed in the beautiful old Burkhardt Brewing building on Grant Street. Just days earlier, Crafty Mart set up shop here, venders in every corner. Owner John Najeway met me in the Thirsty Dog tasting room and toured me through a labyrinth of beer barrels, explaining how the brewery has taken up more and more space over the years. He’s proud of his space and of the economic impact Thirsty Dog has had on Akron and local businesses. He has 40

Thirsty Dog Not


cover story super dry Teeny Tiny Test Batch IPA, a product of the new fermenter Fred purchased to help him brew 10-gallon test batches.

Crave GM, Jason Shoffstall, serving customers a Crave Beer Dinner Each Thursday night, Fred spins vinyl in his taste room, and it’s obvious people dig it, because the place was jumpin’ when Terra and I arrived. Fred ordered me a Gangster Frog IPA, a delicious brew that distracted me from my job.

employees. He’s hired pipefitters, roofers, painters, and even has a fulltime mason on staff. Grant Street is full of what a growing brewery needs. It’s an industrial center with an electrician across the street, Concrete Cutting Systems, Power Media, all businesses Najeway has hired. “So, you use a lot of local business?” I asked.

With its impact on the community and continual growth, Thirsty Dog seems a great anchor for the Akron community.

“I see this brewery as a stage,” Fred said, and it’s no lie.

Fred’s an exciting guy who clearly loves what he’s doing, whether it’s spinning records or brewing new flavors.

Hoppin’ Frog hosts live music every Monday, and Fred spared no expense on the sound system, knowing that music is vital to the enthusiastic atmosphere.

“So,” I started between sips, “can beer save Akron?”

“Mondays are the new Fridays,” he said with excitement.

“It’s crazy for a city not to want a brewery our size. Absolutely unfathomable,” Najeway said. “A city without a brewery is ridiculous.”

“I think it can,” Fred said. “Look around.” He waved his arm to draw my attention to the full and hoppin’ bar. “All these people here are relieving stress. Beer helps keep the doctor away.”

As Fred saw us off, he said simply, “We’re a community meeting place. We throw a beerfest every day.”

Given its economic impact, I’d have to agree.

I took another sip.

Oh, and it tastes good too. Citra Dog is the top seller, and I guess I fall into the statistic that supports that fact.

“You could say that breweries create jobs, enthusiasm,” Fred continued, “They create a focus on Akron. Lots of people know of Akron because of Thirsty Dog and us.”

“All local businesses,” Najeway assured me. But Thirsty Dog isn’t all local. They’ve expanded their reach, distributing from Maine to Florida, and are constantly growing. In fact, Najeway recently acquired a high-speed filler that will increase his bottles per hour from 300 to 8000, dramatically increasing the brewery’s output.

“That’s awesome. This whole place is awesome,” I said, taken by the energy around me.

Spinning with Beer One of Thirsty Dog’s early brewers was Fred Karm, who moved on to his own brewery Hoppin’ Frog, which sits across from the old blimp airdock. I gave Fred a call, and he suggested I meet him on a Thursday.

“We’ll have to go back for the hummus plate,” Terra said as we drove home. “No doubt.” (continued on page 16)

In between spinning vinyl and answering questions, Fred ordered a meat ‘n’ cheese board for the table, and I ordered a sample of the

Hoppin' Frog Brewery

Home Brewing, the craft beer renaissance by Greg Milo

I am sitting with homebrewer Gerald Conn in his garage, staring at the contraption that produced the IPA I’m currently drinking. We might be in a garage, but it’s a heavenly garage. Home brewing mechanisms and thingies lie everywhere.

until two in the afternoon. But it’s worth it.” “You need patience,” I say. “Yes.”

beer agriculture. He grows his own hops in his backyard. The plant vines its way up the trellis on the deck, creating a lovely little shady cove. “This renaissance of brewing is finally reaching Ohio, and a lot of good beer is out there,” Gerald says.

“I’m not sure I’d be good with that.” Gerald received his brewing certificate from the American Brewer’s Guild. He leads me through the brewing process, from the mash tub to the boil kettle, from wort to the various grains and yeast. His 20-gallon system is a pretty advanced one for a home brewer. Much of his equipment and ingredients were purchased at Akron’s Grape and Granary on Home Avenue.

“Can this renaissance have a positive impact on He continues about the temperatures, and Akron?” I ask. gravity, and the finickiness of yeasts, depending on the type of beer. All of it spins my head (or is “Yes. I think it can. Things that have been on it the beer?). the East Coast and West Coast for a long time are finally making their way here, and I think Next he hands me a bock he brewed, which it’s good for the economy,” Gerald states. “You he nicknames a baby bock, and I’m delighted. know, when the economy tanked, I think a lot I just love that I'm drinking something made of people who lost their jobs decided to give it at home. a go.” Gerald speaks from experience.

“You get to be a good janitor,” he says about washing and waiting for the brew to come to fruition. “It makes for a long day. I’ll start at seven in the morning on a Sunday and work

Gerald is a self-described beer geek. He reads all he can about beer and the brewing process. He reads Rick Armon’s beer blog and beer magazines, and he’s even dabbled in a little


During the 2008 economic collapse, Gerald, like many, thought he might need to change careers, and why not go with his passion: beer. He did some of his training at Thirsty Dog as

part of the hands-on portion of his studies. Though he felt a little nervous as the middleaged guy working with a bunch of 20-yearolds, he found it exhilarating. Lastly, I taste another IPA he brewed that has a little oaky flavor -- very different and I wouldn’t mind a six-pack. Later, I meet with home brewer Tim Fitzwater on the upstairs patio of the Highland Square Mustard Seed. We sip on R. Shea's Akpov Bock, enjoying the warm air and vibrant setting. "Craft beer is like the farmers' markets, and neither is going away anytime soon,” Tim says. “People want that local and fresh taste. They have options, and they don't have to settle for poor produce or bad beer." “Good point.” I don’t see an end to this craft beer renaissance anytime soon.

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cover story The board at Trailhead

“Can beer elevate Akron?” he revised. “Better, yes. Let’s elevate Akron.”

(continued from page 15)

Flight to the Future The next day, I popped in to see Ron of R. Shea Brewing. Just a few days earlier, I had the pleasure of trying his Rubber City Red on tap at the Highland Square Mustard Seed. I’m usually not drawn to red ales, but this one caught my attention. R. Shea hasn’t opened just yet, so I felt privileged when Ron welcomed me to see the mystery behind the curtain. Not to give away too much of the surprise, but I fell in love immediately upon seeing the finished pine counter, brewing equipment behind the bar, and metal signage decorated with the R. Shea logo. Ron brings his chemistry background to the art of brewing. He talked about the differences in water between the brewery and ten minutes up the road and how that can alter the taste of the beer. He wants to be sure his product is perfect before he opens the door.

“Akron is a pretty focused city, as a footprint. It can easily be a traveling destination,” Ron said, referring to the Cleveland Brew Bus that already tours the different Akron breweries. “Heck, bars and growler stations are going into groceries,” Ron continued. Supermarkets now have bars. They aren’t just for shopping anymore. I remember about a decade ago when I unknowingly stumbled upon a beer tasting in an Acme. Man, what a delightful surprise! I bumped into some equally surprised friends, and we hung out for a while. And every time after that, when I stepped into that Acme, I hoped for the beer tasting again. It never happened, but now I can have R. Shea on tap at Mustard Seed.

“Our styles are totally different,” Ron said, and he sees it only as a draw, a benefit, and he explained how the two breweries specialize in two different styles. Whereas Ron mixes maltier brews with a fuller mouthfeel, Trailhead does a lot of Belgian styles. “Will there come a point that it’ll peak?” Ron asked himself. He confessed that at some point only the best will survive, but he added, “As long as the quality is good, where you could come to Akron and have a great beer tour, that could, as you say, save or elevate Akron.” I took Ron up on his offer for a flight of beer, a sampling of the twelve beers he has on tap. In front of me glistened on the polished bar a colorful collection of gold, amber, and coffee. One by one, I tasted twelve solid beers, and with each sip, I wished for the opening of R. Shea. The stouts of coconut and chocolate and cinnamon, and the boch, and the IPA, and the pale ale, and the Rubber City Red. They all held their own. They all carried a distinct flavor that I wouldn’t mind trying again in a pint. “So, when will you open?” I asked.

Ron will only enhance an already strong craft beer scene in Akron. The breweries build excitement, and community, and jobs, and an element of Akron pride. The breweries, as any thriving business, can aid Akron in its continual drive, as it has so often done, to rebuild and rebrand itself into a hoppin’ Midwestern city.

Aqueduct Brewing 529 Grant St #106, Akron 330-606-6583

Grape and Granary Home brew supplies and micro distillery 915 Home Ave., Akron 800-695-9870

R. Shea Brewing Not open to the public yet but beer available at new Mustard Seed 1662 Merriman Rd., Akron

“Patience,” he answered. Ron grew up in the Valley, not far from his brewery. He couldn’t believe when he saw that the location on Merriman Road was available. The space had everything he needed, including a kitchen that will ultimately serve up some brats or reubens to complement the beer.

“How can beer save Akron?” I asked.

R. Shea sits along the Towpath Trail, as does neighbor Trailhead Brewery, just a couple storefronts to the west. In fact, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs directly behind the brewery, and Ron teased about a new stop right outside the two breweries, where lucky patrons could slurp up a few flights of R. Shea and Trailhead.

“Does Akron need saved?” Ron questioned with a smile and in perfect Akron dialect.

“Is it too much to have two breweries right next to each other?” I asked.

Tasting Room at Hoppin’ Frog When he opens, he wants it to be solid. Ron claimed he still has a little fine tuning before he gets to that point.

1680 E Waterloo Rd, Akron 234-525-3764 ext. 2

But when he does open, I can see R. Shea being a smash. He and Trailhead next door will create a new draw that can add to the fun that already exists in the Valley.

Thirsty Dog Tasting Room 529 Grant St, Akron 330-252-2739

Rubber City Beer Fest

“Let’s assume.”

Beer Events

Unique ways to get your brew on in Akron Summer Akron Community Beer Events

Brew at the Zoo...................................... June 10, July 15, 6 to 9pm Blues ‘n’ Brews..................................... August 2, 12 to 6pm, Lock 3 Crave Beer Dinners..................................................June 29, July 27 Expires 7/31/2015. Limited One Per Visit. All Pav’s locations.


Expires 7/31/2015. Limited One Per Visit. All Pav’s locations.

| THE Devil Strip / JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8

Ales on Rails............ July 11, August 8 (Thirsty Dog), 6:30 to 8:30pm Check the Aqueduct Facebook page for live performances and open mic nights.


the wanderer

THE DISH Three things you need to know about the Perro Nuevo See that photo? Doesn’t that beer look like it would hit the spot? Yeah, imagine that right about now in the shade of an umbrella on a patio downtown with some friends, enjoying a nice, sunny, summer day. Thus the magic of the Perro Nuevo. The what? Exactly. Here are three things you need to know about it. 1. The Perro Nuevo is a citra-hopped dark lager with a natural lightness and a nice body that’s light enough to sip in the summertime and a perfect complement to Mexican fare. 2. Thirsty Dog’s beer geniuses first presented three different proprietary varieties to Nuevo and then, after narrowing it down to the dark lager, added an extra filtration to the process to subdue the malty taste and bring the citrus flavors to the fore. 3. You can only get this brew on tap at Nuevo Modern Mexican, where they use it in their carnitas, borracho (drunken) pinto beans, in their steak brine and in the mixture for their boar sausage. If you want it in a pint, it also goes well with anything spicy or acidic.


Beer is Good Food by Holly Brown

You know how Magic Hat beers have great fortune cookie like sayings under every cap? Well, one time I opened one that said: “Beer is Good Food”. Here’s the thing, I am completely and totally on board with that BUT what about when you pair good beer WITH good food? I’m going to go ahead and say that’s a double whammy. As you know, I love food. As you will learn, I also love beer. I’ve been looking forward to writing for this specific issue since The Devil Strip began and I knew that a beer issue was in our future. So enough of this jibber jabber from me. Let’s get to the good stuff. One thing I love about Akron is that most places not only have a variety of amazing foods but also a variety of amazing beers. We know how to drink. This is especially true of The Winking Lizard, which boasts on their website of currently having 141 different beers to choose from among their various locations. (I ate at the Peninsula location, their original place). The Winking Lizard even has their Tour of Beers in which participants earn prizes for trying as many of their beers as they can (the 2015 tour has over 325 beers to choose from over the course of the year…watch out Tour of Beers 2016, because I’m coming for you). So, yes, the Winking Lizard certainly does beer.

Flash forward two days, another restaurant, more beer, etc. Our fearless leader, Chris, recommended we try out Craft Beer Bar in Cuyahoga Falls and dear God are we glad he did. The ambience at this place is awesome. Wood paneling mirrors the otherwise brick walls in dark colors and sitting at the bar you are totally drawn to these great chalk panels that list the beers they have on draught in bright colors and fun fonts. The first beer I had to try was Deschutes Chainbreaker because I go nuts for white IPAs. Of course we had to get an appetizer so we decided on pretzel rolls with scallion cream cheese and I’ll tell you right now, I could eat that every day and never get sick of it. Scallion cream cheese might be my favorite food and the pretzel rolls were warm and buttery with just enough salt. beer issue, we just had to order beer cheese dip. I mean, come on, beer infused melted cheese in a steaming vat? And, yes, it was just as damn good as I thought it would be.

Another great perk about The Winking Lizard’s knowledge of beer is that on their seasonal menu they will suggest beers to go with specific dishes. I found it hard to pass up their expert opinion so I decided on the Crispy Thai Peanut Chicken Salad, If anyone loves beer as much as I do, it is Maya, and and according to the menu, paired it with Unibroue she was just as thrilled to be doing the beer issue as La Fin Du Monde. First of all, it is one of the best I was. Naturally as soon as we saw The June Paddle, salads I have ever had: crispy spicy peanut chicken, we ordered one each. The paddle came with four tender mandarin oranges and strawberries, crunchy draught samples: Abita Strawberry Harvest, Great rice noodles and water chestnuts all on a bed of Lakes Sharpshooter, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, lettuce with roasted red peppers AND a honey and Stone Pale Ale 2.0. If I had to pick a favorite orange dressing. This had flavor and texture to of the four, it’d be the Sharpshooter…that’s also boot. Plus the delightful earthy-fruitiness of La Fin just an awesome name. Of course because it’s the Du Monde was, in fact, a great accompaniment.

I had a very, very hard time narrowing down exactly what I was getting for dinner, though I knew as soon as the bartender asked me if I liked trippels that I would be getting the Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale. Woah. That’s a beer I will not forget anytime soon. Sipping on this delicious beer, I finally came to the resolution to order the Caprese BLT with a side of garlic parmesan fries. The BLT was refreshing and perfect for the end of a high eighties day in June. The tomatoes and mozzarella were juicy and melted into the bacon and pesto slathered flat bread. I also genuinely feel the need to give a shout out to Maya’s pick: the Brisket Sandwich. The meat was just so tender AND there were fries ON that bad boy. All in all, I think this speaks for itself, but I will leave you with this: beer is good food, but what goes better with good food than more food? Cheers.

JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 /

THE Devil Strip |


film freak


celebrates its first year . ................... by Chris Kessinger, The Film Freak


hen the lights go out on another hard working day for Akronites, there is one place that owns the night for Akron's motion arts. The Nightlight movie theater opened on July 1st, 2014, and for the last year it has showcased some of the very best in independent cinema. The intimate yet immersive one-screen theater, neighbor to Akron's historic district, was put together as an idea by a group of film fanatics in Akron Film+Pixel. This group met weekly for films at the Akron Art Museum, and their vision for downtown Akron's

first independent movie theater has instilled a taste of culture, both in their film selections and their deliciously tasty snack bar, that will refresh the memories of anyone yearning for a feel of cinemas made popular during the age of the black-andwhite pictures. The Rubber City again proved its reputation for being a welcoming city, opening its arms, helping The Nighlight raise more $17,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, in addition to funding from businesses and nonprofits like the Knight Foundation and the Akron-Summit County Public Library. My appearance tonight is a sitdown meeting with Executive Director Steve Felix (pictured to the left). The theater is showing a short film as part of the Akron Gay Pride Film Series, called ‘Bridegroom’. Immediately I am greeted with friendly service, as I enjoy a beer and hum the atmospheric tones of Amy Winehouse. As far as personalities go, there was something very comfortable and humbling upon meeting Steve, a Doylestown native who moved and attended college here in 2009 as a financing major. His passion for film hit very close to home with me. "We were all film buffs, and we saw a gap for cinema in the city. We felt the best way to keep the city together was to open a theater to keep the community together." That community has thrived, resulting in many sold out shows that already has Steve talking expansion. "We would like to see it expand beyond one screen. Cleveland's independent theaters sport six screens, so support is huge." One thing that makes The Nightlight so intriguing is their selection of films, which includes an upcoming Midnight Classics Series which includes ‘Heat’ (July 3), ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (July 10th) and ‘Clueless’ (July 19) to name a few. Besides this, it showcases many Oscar-winning films like ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Birdman’. The theater is very open to other uses as well – this year, they showed movies as part of the Cleveland Film Festival, and the Knight Foundation has sponsored a monthly viewing for pieces related to place-making. One particularly cool idea that has the local musicians buzzing is an annual musical scoring event. The theater takes a silent film and invites musicians from Akron to score the film, twenty seconds apiece. "It's a shared and creative experiment,"


| THE Devil Strip / JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8

Steve says. Not to be outdone by the captivating cinema onscreen, the snack bar offers a tasty beverage or dessert treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. What's amazing here is that every beer selection and every dessert offering is Ohio-crafted. "There's so many local beers that we wanted to feature in one spot. Beers like Great Lakes, Hoppin’ Frog, and Thirsty Dog offer such a wide selection," Steve says. The theater also just introduced cake push pops from Sugar Love, in Cuyahoga Falls. You can only find them at the theater, and they will have your mouth tingling in sweet nirvana. The snack bar also offers popcorn, as well as peanuts from Akron's own Peanut Shoppe. Going forward, the projection for the theater is very bright. Steve's goal is to have a minor expansion which includes a second screen. "We certainly are exploring a room in the back with definite possibilities." This place has certainly come a long way. A sort of little engine that did, if you will. In an era where the multiplex is dying, one theater in Akron is thriving with a simple formula: a love for film. To finish our interview, I asked Steve to define Akron in five words or less. "Full of possibility and opportunity.” Oh, how right you are, Steve. Chris Kessinger is The Film Freak. You can find his movie reviews in The Devil Strip and more online at

THE NIGHTLIGHT CINEMA 30 N. High St. Akron, OH 44308



Arts & Entertainment

Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden bring Artful, Cinematic Rock to Akron by Brittany Nader

Musica is alive and brimming as Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden fill the venue with ethereal sounds. From Tucker’s cherubic voice to lush guitars, the players create a cinematic atmosphere on the night of Friday, June 12. The performance truly feels like a scene from an art-house movie, with a still, seated crowd gazing up at the performers, and a single young dancer illuminated in front by the glittering stage lights.

on this night especially. The event acts at the opening scene for the premiere of “Let Me Go,” both a track from the album and short film shot by Adam Smalley, just around the corner at the Nightlight a few days after. Though based in Nashville, it’s evident Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden have roots in Akron and much to present as homage to the city. Joined by musicians Matthew Thompson, Wes Chandler Ethan Place, who make up the Sons of Sweden, Tucker leads into several songs from the group’s first album, recorded in Seattle. This particular weekend feels like a homecoming, with material recorded all around the country presented to a place that started it all. With indie rock inclinations and post-punk dissonance, it’s fitting that so many of the band’s tunes have appeared on television and movie soundtracks and are often woven through the radio airwaves.

It’s no coincidence that this group brings a film-like quality to the environments it creates from the stage. Before diving songs from the band’s new release, “The Shape The Color The Feel,” Tucker explains each track on the recording is paired with a music video, resulting in an entire visual album containing scenes filmed all around Akron. With songs like “Give up the Ghost” and “Blue Hotel,” the haunting qualities of the group’s material are ever present. Tucker mentions she has previously played in metal and hardcore bands, and perhaps those experiences have influenced both the hypnotic beats and dark lyrical content resounding from the stage. Contrasted with sweet melodies and wistful chords, the result is both melancholy and sublime, clearly entrancing the Akronites in attendance.

The performance is, in part, a celebration of the band’s successful Kickstarter project, resulting in the aforementioned vinyl and CD release with a music video and short film accompanying each track. Tucker handpicked each filmmaker to illustrate the song of their preference in their own unique way. This group was given total creative control and consisted of creators ranging from recent film

Akron by Ilenia Pezzaniti

Michael is thinking about Her. He won’t tell his wife, Julia. They live together but estranged, a suitcase and the Truth lay between them.

Characters Michael and Julia, better known as Jose Infante and Deanna Sherman, pose for a few photographs in front.

Three suitcases filled with CD’s, T-shirts, and mason jars sat ajar on a table in front of a large poster board.

On June 16, the Nightlight Cinema in Akron became home to musicians and filmmakers alike. Cory Sheldon, who helped launch The Nightlight, directed By Light We Loom’s first music video, “Mason Jars”, which opened the premiere of small

A white suit. Flash. The blue of a fitted dress. Flash.


school graduates to Academy Awards nominees. Clear in the band’s sound and aesthetic, these musicians are true artists who support creatives from the West Coast to the Great Lakes and so many places in between.

Curious listeners can get the full sensory experience of Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden’s new release by viewing each song and accompanying video on the band’s YouTube page, KateTuckerSongs. “The Shape The Color The Feel” is available on vinyl at Square Records.

Akron-based Tucker thanked 91.3 The Summit for supporting local music, not only for years, but also

film, “Let Me Go”, a Moving Studios Production, directed by Adam Smalley, featuring Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden. Cleveland’s By Light We Loom, an indie pop married duo, played a breathtaking live set before their music video debuted. Live, Delaney’s dance moves complemented her booming, elegant, fun, jivey voice, while Ling’s harmonies added full and rich tones. In “Mason Jars”, Shanna Delaney and Eric Ling capture a relatable human condition. They sit separately, across from the child versions of themselves. Their empty eyes stare ahead, while the children pick up mason jars and head out to catch fireflies, reminding us how the responsibilities and obligations of adulthood often take over, pushing away light and innocence, but that we can regain our playfulness. Akronite Kate Tucker closed the show by playing a live solo acoustic set. Tucker, born in Suffield, was featured as “Truth” in the short film. She came

home to play a show at Musica on Friday and take part in the weekends festivities. “I love being home. Most of my music comes from here and the experiences I’ve had growing up here.” Tucker tries to put Akron on the map with her music, plus, she loves Luigi’s. Using her soft-spoken, hauntingly beautiful voice, Tucker and her band perform their song, Let Me Go, leading to a resolve between the characters in the film. Tucker wrote the song out of a painful place. Smalley said he felt the song was written for him, weaving his several year old film idea and personal narrative with the lyrics. “You rewrote the song. You made me hear it differently than the first time,” Tucker told Smalley. “It shows what music can do and how it’s an emotive method. Stuff we can’t quite put our finger on. It’s kind of like its own savior.”

JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 /

THE Devil Strip |


Arts & Entertainment

Music & COncerts

THURSDAY, JUNE 25 Downtown@Dusk: Mo’ Mojo 6:30pm at Akron Art Museum (FREE) One S High St, Akron Head to the Akron Art Museum every Thursday throughout the summer for great local concerts outdoors. This week, enjoy Mo’ Mojo’s zydeco beats.

genre-bending music that binds Blues, Indie Rock, Soul, Gospel, Hip Hop and maybe even Country into a most exquisite and easily drinkable cocktail of sound, that he has dubbed "Soul Swagger". Harry Allen Quintet 7pm at BLU Jazz+ ($30) 47 E Market St, Akron Award-winning tenor saxophonist & Swing Bros. recording artist from New York City brings all-star band to BLU for two shows that are sure to swing straight-ahead! Harry Allen has performed with the likes of Rosemary Clooney and Terry Gibbs, and recorded with artists from Tony Bennett to Sheryl Crow to Dave McKenna.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24 Carlos Jones & The PLUS Band 5:30pm at Howe Meadow (FREE) 4040 Riverview Rd, Peninsula Grab a blanket and a picnic dinner and bring your family to hear FREE music in your national park! Since 1998, Carlos Jones & the PLUS Band have featured soulful roots reggae with infectious rhythms and creative percussion. Their repertoire includes original songs and recognizable covers in a positive, uplifting package. Becca Stevens Band 7pm at BLU Jazz+ ($20) 47 E Market St, Akron Internationally acclaimed singer/composer/guitarist Becca Stevens blurs the boundaries of folk, jazz, & pop while engaging the audience through keen poetic observation, rich musical language, and beguiling singing.

Daryl Hall and John Oates 8pm at EJ Thomas Hall ($60) 198 Hill St, Akron Daryl Hall and John Oates achieved their greatest fame from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s with a fusion of rock and roll and rhythm and blues, which they dubbed "rock and soul". Named by Billboard as the most successful duo of the rock era and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, you don’t want to miss this show at EJ!

Copali 8pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron Just as the word Copali is a combination of syllables, the band is a mixture of musicians from various backgrounds. The group draws inspiration from each unique member to create its original sound. With the possibility of an energetic live show or an intimate musical setting, who knows what surprises will be in store? Jessica Lea Mayfield with Shivering Timbers 8pm at Musica ($10) 51 E Market St, Akron Don’t miss this show of local favorites! The Shivering Timbers play their folk-rock, by turns haunting and foot-stomping, while Jessica Lea Mayfield’s minimalist tunes draw on 90s alternative rock, 70s/80s bluegrass, and country.


Gates open at 6 pm | Concerts start at 7 pm

JUN 26

Clapton Tribute EVOLUTION


JUN 27

with Rooster Jones


FREE Admission

Admission $10

Larry Graham with Get On Up

Rib, White and Blue Rib Festival July 1 - 4 Ohio’s Largest July 4th Rib Festival FREE Admission / 11am – 11 pm


Zoso The Ultimate Zed Zeppelin Experience Hollywood Nights The Ultimate Tribute to Bob Seger Fleetwood Mix A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac Akron Symphony Orchestra with Freedom Brass Band & Alex Bevan FIREWORKS at 9:45 pm

Wed., July 8th The Rhythm Syndicate

Lock Bottom Blues & Jazz Club 7 pm

Lock 4 is located off of Bowery St., behind the Civic Theatre, next to Lock 3. Admission is free. Bring your lawn chair.

Italian Festival July 9 - 11 FREE Admission / 11am – 11 pm

JUL 9 Crush A Tribute Bon Jovi JUL 10 Separate Ways A Tribute to Journey JUL 11 Eurorythms Tramonte Distributing Co.


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Cheley Tackett & Hannah Thomas 8pm at Akron Civic Theatre ($15) 182 S Main St, Akron It only takes hearing Cheley Tackett once to understand why she is one of Nashville's most celebrated emerging artists. Cheley's blend of lyrical intensity and melodic craftsmanship have earned her recognition and respect in a town where being a stand-out is a rare achievement. Hannah Thomas has been described as having “the soul of old country, and that will always be there, but she's also a diehard rocker with some punk thrown in the mix.” fiddleFunk 8pm at BLU Jazz+ ($12) 47 E Market St, Akron fiddleFunk is a program of compositions incorporating a cornucopia of idioms: the romanticism of the Great American Songbook, Bebop’s rhythmic elasticity, Brazilian melodies, a variety of jazz styles & popular tunes are all in the mix – so, too, the blues!

SATURDAY, JUNE 27 KaiL Baxley with Mo’ Mojo 6:30pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron KaiL Baxley hails from Williston-Elko, South Carolina, whose only claim to fame is Soul legend James Brown, with whom Baxley shared an unlikely friendship as a child. Perhaps this was one of the leading influences on Baxley’s Soul-drenched,

Larry Graham with Get On Up 7pm at Lock 3 ($10) 200 S Main St, Akron Larry Graham, Jr. is best known as the bass guitar player in the popular and influential psychedelic soul/funk band Sly & the Family Stone, and as the founder and front man of Graham Central Station. He is credited with the invention of the slapping technique, which radically expanded the tonal palette of the bass, although he himself refers to the technique as "Thumpin' and Pluckin'."

MONDAY, JUNE 29 Morrissey 8:30pm at Akron Civic Theatre 182 S Main St, Akron Widely regarded as one of the most influential artists ever, Morrissey is on tour promoting his withdrawn album World Peace is None of Your Business. After rising to prominence with The Smiths in the 1980s, Morrissey’s solo career has also been hugely successful, due in large part to his deeply personal songs and unique voice.

TUESDAY, JUNE 30 Liberty Deep Down 7:30pm at Musica ($12) 51 E Mill St, Akron Liberty Deep Down is an energetic pop/alternative/ rock band from the suburbs of Columbus with a unique sound with catchy riffing and vocal melodies and a high energy live show. They’ve performed nationally with MKTO, Aaron Carter, and Drake Bell, among others.

THURSDAY, JULY 2 The Ryans 8pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron Join The Ryans as they record a live album at Jilly’s Music Room! Everyone who comes will be credited as part of the live studio audience in the liner notes of the album. The Ryans are acoustic singersongwriters. Ryan Jones's powerfully raw, blues influenced guitar style coupled with Ryan Kane's rich open tunings create a complex, layered sound that isn't like anything else out there.


Arts & Entertainment Lock Bottom Blues & Jazz

111 N Main St, Akron KaiL Baxley hails from Williston-Elko, South Carolina, whose only claim to fame is Soul legend James Brown, with whom Baxley shared an unlikely friendship as a child. Perhaps this was one of the leading influences on Baxley’s Soul-drenched, genre-bending music that binds Blues, Indie Rock, Soul, Gospel, Hip Hop and maybe even Country into a most exquisite and easily drinkable cocktail of sound, that he has dubbed "Soul Swagger.”

Lock 4 (FREE) Behind the Akron Civic Theatre Lock 4 is an exciting space in Downtown Akron! The rushing water of the Ohio-Erie Canal creates multiple waterfalls, which, with the historic brick facades of some of the oldest buildings in the city, give the space a distinctly urban feel. The LockBottom Blues & Jazz Club is "down under" off of Bowery Street, adjacent to Lock 3. Every Wednesday through September 2.


Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) Saturday, June 27 at 6:30 pm

FRIDAY, JULY 3 Swizzle Stick Band with Anne E. DeChant 5pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron The Swizzle Stick Band plays a blend of Motown, R&B, Funk, Blues, Dance, Soul and Rock N Roll. The band members got together at a party years ago just to jam and then did it again and again until a band was formed! Anne E. DeChant is a five-time winner of Cleveland Scene’s Best Singer-Songwriter award whose acoustic, melodic songs captivate audiences across the US.

SATURDAY, JULY 4 Akron Symphony Pops Concert with Freedom Brass Band, Alex Bevan and Fireworks Finale 4pm at Lock 3 (FREE) 200 S Main St, Akron

Wednesday, July 8 at 7pm

John Boston

Saturday, June 27 at 6 pm Café O’Play Stage 911 Graham Road #27, Stow John Boston has appeared with music greats such as Duke Ellington and he has performed in commercials, on TV & radio and live in clubs and concert halls throughout Northeast Ohio and the eastern United States. No door charge, but music at Cafe O’Play is listener-supported, so an opportunity to make contribution will be offered.

Part of Akron’s annual Rib, White & Blue Festival, don’t miss this celebration of the Fourth of July! Music starts at 4pm, with the Akron Symphony Orchestra performing at 8pm at the fantastic fireworks finale at 9:45!

521 S River Rd, Munroe Falls Enjoy an evening of free lake swimming from 5 to 8 p.m. and live music at 6:30 by the Metro Parks Ensemble!

Wednesday, July 8


Sammy DeLeon Latin Jazz Orchestra 5:30pm at Howe Meadow (FREE) 4040 Riverview Rd, Peninsula This jazz ensemble combines traditional salsa rhythms with a more aggressive and progressive style. Their music will delight lovers of salsa, merengue, mambo, latin jazz, and more.

Whitesnake 7:30pm at Hard Rock Live ($42.50) 10777 Northfield Rd, Northfield Named the 85th greatest hard rock band of all time by VH1, Whitesnake is back and touring again, bringing their greatest hits to Northeast Ohio.

of live music! The band will perform two sets, featuring all the greatest hits. Lock Bottom Blues & Jazz 7pm at Lock 4 (FREE) Behind the Akron Civic Theatre Every Wednesday through September 2 Lock 4 is an exciting space in Downtown Akron! The rushing water of the Ohio-Erie Canal creates multiple waterfalls, which, with the historic brick facades of some of the oldest buildings in the city, give the space a distinctly urban feel. The LockBottom Blues & Jazz Club is "down under" off of Bowery Street, adjacent to Lock 3.

Dave Matthews Band 7pm at Blossom Music Center ($40) 1145 W Steels Corner Rd, Cuyahoga Falls The Dave Matthews Band is back for another year

TUESDAY, JULY 7 Music by the Lake 5pm at Munroe Falls Metro Park (FREE)


At Portage Lakes Brewing Co. by Madison Cummins

What was your first night like? My first night was kind of slow because we were a new place that a lot of people didn’t know about. The night that we had our taps installed was a crazy night. We’ve had them for about a year and that brought in a lot of customers. When we first started we only sold six-packs and things like that and now we have a tasting room for customers.

beers. I’ve learned what I like and don’t like and how to help others expand their pallet. Best tip you’ve ever gotten? Monetary? I got $25 on Christmas. It was late on Christmas Eve so I think they felt bad for me.

Where do you go when you’re not at work? We stay here. The owners and the people who Name one thing, good or bad, that you work here are all friends so when we’re not wouldn’t know if you weren’t a bartender working we like to hang out together. When How drunk people can get. That’s good and bad, I you’re not working it’s nice to enjoy this place in a guess. I also have gained a lot of knowledge about different way. beer. Now I know different styles and people’s taste and being able to direct customers on what How do you know it’s going to be they might like if they are just getting into craft a good night? When we have special rare beers that are hard to find. If we know that we have those on tap we


Name: Hometown: Lives in: Job:

Phil LoCascio Tallmadge, Ohio Tallmadge, Ohio BartenPortage Lakes Brewing Co. and Manager at Gionino’s near Portage Lake

would promote it on Facebook and people love to come out and try it. Right now people are very into spiced beers so we have a lot of those and we also have Sweet Baby Jesus on tap, which is a chocolate peanut butter porter. People have gone crazy for that. What’s your favorite thing about Portage Lakes Brewing Company? My really good friends are the owners so it’s a good vibe here and they’re really easy to work with. This is the kind of job that you have because you’re passionate about the beer and it’s easy to work when you know you’re doing something that you like. The best thing is just working with your friends and trying new things in this relaxed environment. It’s nice when my friends come in when they know I’m working.

What could someone expect when coming to Portage Lakes Brewing Company? They can expect to find a beer that they’ve never heard of before and try new things. If we don’t have the exact beer that you’re looking for, we usually find something within the same category. Or we would hunt it down for someone. As long as it’s distributed in Ohio, we’ll get it shipped into us. What are some of the best drinks to order here and what’s your favorite? We only do beer and cider. When we have the White Rajah from Brew Kettle, that’s probably the best one in my opinion. We also have beer shakes with ice cream and beer mixed together which are really good.

JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 /

THE Devil Strip |


8 questions

Questions Morrissey for

by a lot of different people, culled together by Roger Riddle

So, we’ve tried to reach out to a few big timers— true ballers like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lyle Lovett and Corey Feldman—coming through the AK-Rowdy, but so far, we only landed an interview with the Felds—and that was after we went to print. As we suspected would happen, Morrissey has become the latest to overlook our wee bi-weekly paper. No hard feelings, though. To prove it, we decided to run some of our favorite interview questions by other publications and Morrissey’s answers to them. If you like it, let us know because I think we might do this again. In the meantime, the Pope of Mope is performing live at the Akron Civic Theatre on Monday, June 29 at 8:30 pm. Make sure you tell Moz we said hello. – Chris Horne


. Jim Nelson (GQ, April 2004): Do you get sick of people being obsessed with the cult of the Smiths? Morrissey: Well, I get tired of people assuming they know the full story and assuming they know the inside story. That exhausts me, because people don't really know anything at all, and it's better that they don't know. And for the most part they don't, but I get tired of being asked about reformations, because there's really only one way to answer on a given question, and I feel I gave the answer 112 years ago, but people every day still ask me, and I can't understand why. Let lying dogs sleep is something I always say in reference to the Smiths.


. Amy Lee (, Feb. 26, 2013): I think the way you address alienation in your music really resonates with your fans. Do you think a certain degree of loneliness enriches our lives? Is it OK, or even good, to feel alone? M: Everyone is, in fact, alone. Being contractually tied to another person—in marriage, for example—accentuates the loneliness, because


you have effectively allowed the state to determine your obligations to someone, as if you can’t trust and manage your own feelings by yourself. Anyway, I see humans as essentially solitary creatures, and this is not changed by surrounding ourselves with others, because they too are solitary. Life is a very serious business for the simple reason that nobody dies laughing.


. David Keeps (Details, Dec. 1992): Is unhappiness epidemic these days? M: I think it was probably always there, but never addressed. People never used the term "depression" until the '70s. Before then it was always the least important illness, something for which one just took medication.


. Ryan Dombal (, June 27, 2011): What's your take on how the music business has changed over the last 30 years—with more focus on touring and less on making albums—do you think it's generally for better or worse? M: Obviously, it's much worse because the entire "industry"—as it must be called-- has been destroyed in a thousand ways. The Internet has obviously wiped music off the human map—killed the record shop, and killed the patience of labels who consider debut sales of 300,000 to not be good enough. People no longer know the top 75 charts, and what they do know of them they don't trust because chart-placings are so fixed—everyone on the planet mysteriously flies in at number one now. The music press has died because of Internet People Power—everyone is now their own expert critic. As a consequence there are no risks taken with music anymore—no social commentary songs, no individualism. This is because everyone is deemed instantly replaceable.

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. M. Tye Comer (Billboard, Feb. 27, 2014): In 2013, you endured a series of unfortunate maladies that forced you to cancel many tour dates. Are you still ill? M: Well, I'm expected to see Easter. It was a bad year. I was in hospitals so frequently that the doctors were sick to death of me, and there's nothing more ageing than lying in a hospital bed, trying to recover from hospital food. If your illness doesn't kill you then the hospital food sees you off. That's what it's there for. Anyway, it was my time to go to pieces. Much overdue.


. Iain Webb (Undress, 1984): The line from This Charming Man, "I would go out tonight but I haven't got a stitch to wear," was that written from experience? M: From total experience. For years and years I never had a job, or any money. Consequently I never had any clothes whatsoever. I found that on those very rare occasions when I did get invited anywhere I would constantly sit down and say, "Good heavens, I couldn't possibly go to this place tonight because I don't have any clothes... I don't have any shoes." So I'd miss out on all those foul parties. It was really quite a blessing in disguise.


. Nina Antonia (, Jan. 12, 2015): Why did The New York Dolls galvanize you so? M: I was ready to be galvanized. I read a very small piece in Record Mirror entitled Arrival Of The Dolly Boys, and I thought it all sounded so alive and so witty, and the early press shots of The Dolls made them look like schoolboy sadists – to me, which was also funny. I thought, now this is MY band. David Johansen’s early quotes were hysterical, and Johnny Thunders looked like a work of art. Plus, of course, The New York Dolls sounded like a very important name.


. Kory Grow (transcribed for Rolling Stone, Aug. 8, 2014): On his funeral… M: They'll all turn up finally ready with praise once I'm out of earshot. Who cared...about John Lennon in the years leading up to his death? No one. I'm not saying I'm as known as John Lennon because obviously I'm not.

Vinyl Thursday Tasting Room at Hoppin’ Frog 1680 E. Waterloo Rd., Akron Every Thursday starting at 5 pm, the Hoppin’ Frog crew dusts off their turntables for a deep dive into their extensive collection spanning the last few generations. This is a triple treat for beer-drinkin’ music lovers because the kitchen also whips up a Smoked Rib Special, served with a delicious spicy house-made B.O.R.I.S. barbeque sauce. This coming Thursday, June 25, Steely Dan graces the wheels of steel.


Reading Comics in Public


be a collector TO be a reader by Isaac Kelley

I recently attended the Origins Game Fair in Columbus. On the first day, my friend Angie and I hit the floor of what we have always referred to as the Dealer Room, a huge exhibitor hall, with maybe 150 booths showcasing a variety of games and related merchandise. Our plan, here at the start, was to begin with a quick cursory circuit of the Dealer Room before allowing ourselves to get sucked into any games or sold on any major purchases. . Almost immediately we found a booth selling overstock comic book trade paperbacks at an obscene discount. The two of us spent the better part of the next hour scouring that booth, ultimately nabbing a large cardboard box of comics apiece. We had each acquired dozens of trade paperbacks, easily twenty pounds of books. We had to trek back to our hotel room to unload before we could actually do the con proper. These are the moments that comic collectors live for. You don't have to be a collector to be a comic book reader. ComiXology, Scribd, and Humble Bundle all provide cheap affordable digital comics, and Akron has really a really good library system full of comics. However, for many readers, myself included, reading comic books goes hand in hand with collecting comic books. There are various well-known sites online that some people use to buy comic books, but I like the thrill of the hunt. Even more significantly, I like to support local business. So I avoid Amazon and Ebay and instead scour back-issue bins and I wait for sales. I try to visit Kenmore Komics, my regular shop, once a week, but whenever I can, I like to visit any other shop that I can. Typically I don't buy new comics or trades at these stores, and I've largely outgrown my need for toys and other decorative “merch”. I'm coming to these stores partially out of a deep-running anthropological curiosity of how other stores are put together, but mainly to hit


their back-issue bins and their discount racks. Of special note is the quarter bin. Most comic book stores have one or more discount longbox of comics where you can grab old books with slight wear and tear on the cheap. Kenmore Komics has a particular good set of discount bins, with four or five longboxes of books for a quarter apiece, churning through stock at a good clip. I have a physical list of all the back issues that I am actively looking for. I have the broad strokes committed to memory, but I try to bring the actual list with me whenever I know I'm going to be buying discount comics. I should probably learn how to use my smartphone more effectively but in the meantime I have an annotate list on some stapled sheets of paper. It is divided into two sections: Books I will snap up at cover price (or slightly above depending on the book.), and books I will grab at quarter bin prices.

oddball like an oversized copy of Super Boxers written by John Byrne with an epically loopy painted Sienkiwicz cover in a quarter bin, or something amazing like a big stack of obscure Jack Kirby book on the cheap. The medium is an important part of how we interact with stories, as anyone who has ever watched Lawrence of Arabia on a 12 inch television knows. My relationship with comics is shaped by the fact that they are tiny little artifacts for me to discover. I never know when I'm going to find a single rare gem or a 20 pound box of Thor books.

travel made easy

The comics medium isn't that large and it isn't that old. I have bought thousands of comic books over a twenty year span. Ninety percent of everything is crap. One would think I would have run out of titles worth grabbing. It hasn't worked out that way. As my tastes keep evolving and my horizons keep expanding, there is always something new for me to search for. There are few things I enjoy more than sifting through old comics, looking for gaps in my collection, chunks of whatever new dumb thing I am obsessing over, or oddities that I've never heard of. For the past year I've mainly been hoovering up a truly absurd amount of Thor comics, but I never know when I'll find something

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JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 /

THE Devil Strip |


Our bars 69 Taps 370 Orleans Ave, Akron 330-253-4554

Barley House 222 S Main St, Akron 330-374-0925

Frank's Place On Market 549 W Market St, Akron 330-376-8307

Ido Bar & Grill 1537 S Main St, Akron 330-773-1724

jilly's music room 111 N Main St, Akron 330-576-5960

Max McQ's 1562 Akron Peninsula Rd, Akron 330-940-3400

Mr Spock's Lounge 2012 S Main St, Akron 330-724-1626

Square Bar 820 W Market St, Akron 330-374-9661

The Lockview 207 S Main St, Akron 330-252-5128

The Office 778 N Main St., Akron 330-376-9550

The Rail 3265 W. Market St, Fairlawn 330-864-7245

UNCORKED WINE BAR 22 N High St, Akron 330-374-1850

Happy Hour

Daily fun

Happy Hour |M-Th | 4 - 7pm $1 off all taps $2 draft of the month $3 featured draft $3 shot of the month

Mon. - $5 Select Pitchers | Tues. - $3 Margaritas Weds - Beer Pong $5 Select Pitchers (9:30- Close) Thurs. - Ladies Night - $2 Long Islands & Free Pizza after 10:30pm |Fri. - Super Happy Hour 4pm-9pm.

Happy hour | M-Fri | 4-7pm Select apps $4.99-$5.25 1/2 off drafts, well drinks, house wine

Mon. - $3 margaritas & FREE pool all day Weds. - $6.50 Gyro w/ Fries & $2.75 import bottles Thurs. - $2 off all burgers & $2 PBR cans or draft Fri. - $3 Long Islands & $3 Fireball (from 7-9pm)

Happy hour | M-Fri | 2-8pm $.75 off domestics $3 glass of wine and well drinks

Sat. 5-8pm $.75 off domestics, $3 wine & well

Happy hour | M-Sat | 2-7pm $2 domestic bottles $3 wine & $5 martinis

Weds. - 1/2 off burgers

Happy Hour | W-Sat5 |4:30 - 7PM $2.50 Bud Light & Miller Lite |$5 House Wines & Well Martinis |$1 Off Jilly's Signature Cocktails |$1 Off All Menu Items

Sun. 4-8pm - $2.50 domestic drafts & $2.50 well

Live music during Happy Hour most Fridays & Saturdays. No Cover.

Happy hour | M-Fri | 3-7pm 22oz domestic drafts - $3 Daily food specials dine-in only

Tues. - Hamburger - $3.99 Weds. - Live Trivia - 7pm & 8pm Thurs. - 1-topping pizza - $5 Friday - Karaoke at 9:30pm

Happy hour | M-Fri | 4-7pm $1.75 domestics and $2.25 well drinks

Weds. - $.50 wings & FREE pool till 7pm Thurs. - Classic burgers $2 (some toppings extra) & Great Lakes Chillwave $3.75

Happy hour | M-Fri |5-9pm Free snacks, $3 house wine $.75 off well drinks

Tues. - Live Trivia at 9:45 pm Weds. - Karaoke starting at 9:30pm

Happy hour | M-Fri | 4-7pm 1/2 price apps (w/ drink purchase) $1 off draft beers & $5 select martinis

Monday 11am-2pm grilled cheeses $5

Happy hour | M-Th | 4-6:30pm $5 House Wines & $5 Drafts $5 Martinis

Daily food specials M-Th 4pm-9pm Friday 4pm-6:30pm & Sat. 4pm-11pm

Happy hour drinks 3-6pm | All drafts $4.5 House wines $4 | Select specialty drinks $6 Appetizer specials 3-6pm | 9pm-Close

$3 Daily bar specials | 11am - 9pm Sun - Bloody Mary or Mimosa Mon - White Sangria | Tues.- House Vodka or Gin Weds - Margaritas | Thurs- Electric Tea Mon., Weds., Fri. - "Bottoms Up" special - Half off on glasses of opened bottles of wine

misc. (continued from page 9) There was palpable energy and tension in the space, and Farkas knew just what to do with it. He was clearly confident and in his element. Farkas connected with the crowd, landing punch after acerbic punch in an act filled with social commentary and personal reflection. Whether he spoke of politics or being “friend zoned,” he managed to find the humor in some very unfunny truths. A couple of days after the show, I had the opportunity to sit down with Farkas to talk about himself, his act, and the Akron comedy scene. I assumed I was going to have a nice conversation with a funny guy and find a quote or two for this article. By this point in my life I should know better than to assume anything about anything. Matt Farkas IS funny, no doubt about it. He is also a really smart guy who is as passionate about the world around him as he is about working with his colleagues to build something lasting in Akron: a comedy scene that speaks to topics as diverse as those covered by himself and those he shared the stage with the week before at The Empire. For a guy whose humor can be bitingly honest, he has only positive things to say about Matt Brady, Anthony Savatt and the other architects of comedy in Northeast Ohio. “Anthony is kind of the king of producing Kent comedy shows, and Matt Brady is really doing a good job of that here in Akron.”

Farkas saved his highest praise for The Empire Club’s owner, Eric Soudry. “The Empire Club lets us run comedy nights every month and they take care of their artists. Eric gets it, and he found a way to run his club that takes care of the performers, the audience and the club at the same time.” That sentiment has been echoed over and over by the comedians I spoke to for this article, as well as musicians and other artists who have graced The Empire’s stage. My takeaway? Akron is a city jam-packed with talented artists of all sorts. Akronites already know that. What I didn’t know was what a strong foundation exists in our city’s comedy scene. I plan to support it, and I hope you will, too, and that is no joke. For more information about shows at The Empire Concert Club and Bar, find them on Facebook at For information about The Empire Club’s next comedy night, visit

Comedian Matt Brady (Photo: Holly Scarito)


JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 /

THE Devil Strip |


Your Turn

Excerpts from a University of Akron professor’s resignation letter by Dr. Kira Thurman

June 22, 2015 It is with sadness and frustration that I announce that I am resigning from my position as an assistant professor at the University of Akron. I have taught history at the University of Akron for two years and enjoyed my experience immensely. I have grown by leaps and bounds as a teacher and created meaningful and lasting relationships with my students and colleagues. During my time at the university, I have won awards for my scholarship and had some of the highest student evaluations in my department. But during those two years working for the history department, I became troubled by problematic institutional practices that I’ve witnessed at the University of Akron. The university makes few attempts to support and retain talented professors. Although it pays great lip service to supporting innovative research and teaching, the university – unintentionally or not – far too often ends up undermining the faculty that it claims to support.

five of my colleagues have petitioned to claim their well-earned professional development leave (PDL). Of the five colleagues, only two have received this support, which, at most academic institutions, is granted automatically to faculty every six to seven years. If UA were following academic custom, our department would routinely have two to three faculty on leave each year. My department has unfortunately been awarded one PDL each year. And I have witnessed many of my senior colleagues become disheartened by this fact. They believe that the institution is being unnecessarily cruel to them. Why else would the university deny the faculty something that is considered standard at every other academic institution? At best, the university leaders’ decisions appear arbitrary; at worst, they come across as intentional and mean-spirited.

Professional development leaves (or sabbaticals) have a purpose: with the time away from teaching, faculty can throw themselves fully into a research project that they would be unable to conduct if they had to teach on campus several times a The unwillingness or downright refusal at the week. Because of paid research leaves, historians administrative level to hire tenure-track or full-time have written wonderful works of scholarship that faculty has been shocking. In the 2013-2014 have shaped American society. Using professional academic year in the College of Arts and Sciences, development leaves, historians across the United we lost nineteen tenure-track or full-time faculty States have considered important moral questions, members. Of the nineteen positions lost, only two such as: what leads good men and women were opened as tenure-track the following year. to commit evil deeds? Why do we go to war? The other seventeen have disappeared or have Considering the most recent news regarding Rachel been converted to part-time or full-time jobs. This Dolezal and her attempts to pass as an African is not acceptable for an institution such as the American woman, why is it that the politics of race University of Akron. In order to teach the next continue to haunt American society? What do we generation of students, the university must have know about the history of “passing”? Who has experts in their field who are on the tenure track. done it in the past and why? What can their stories As scholar-teachers, tenure-track faculty share teach us about our present-day racial problems? their intimate and unique knowledge with their The University of Akron history department is students and expose them to the greater mechanics committed to addressing these kinds of hard, of their area of study, regardless of the subject complicated questions, but they need to have (mathematics, anthropology, musicology, etc.). the time to carefully and methodically approach them. Through their innovative research, they have Numerous studies have demonstrated that there is already asked some important and timely questions a strong correlation between the number of tenure- about war, desertion, and cowardice (Lesley track faculty at an institution and that institution’s Gordon), the ways in which ethnic minorities retention rates. And this makes much sense: when engage with the political state (Janet Klein), and an institution invests in tenure-track faculty, the whether the United States has committed acts of faculty in return invest right back through service genocide (Walter Hixson). and teaching. They become, in other words, part of the institution in ways that adjunct faculty – Professional development leaves are standard at who lack office space, resources, and institutional the kinds of technical institutes that the University support – simply cannot. They offer support, of Akron aspires to become, such as Georgia Tech, guidance, and expertise to students in ways that MIT, or Rochester Institute of Technology, and they adjunct faculty cannot. A quick glance at the kinds are also standard at small colleges such as Baldwinof schools that President Scarborough has lauded Wallace University, too. My colleagues at Kent (Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech) reveal that State University have also informed me that they all around 80% of their faculty are tenure-track in receive their regular sabbaticals when due as well. comparison to UA, where less than 50% of faculty are full-time or tenure-track. I am also deeply troubled that the University of Akron would consider shifting gears so strongly The university also creates unnecessary dilemmas and permanently to position itself as a polytechnic that demoralize faculty. Since my arrival in 2013, institute when our students have so greatly


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benefitted from a strong and rigorous humanities and social science program. What I find the most absurd about this desire to shift focus is that it does not match the interests of the student body, including and especially its STEM students. Many of my strongest and most appreciative students have been students in STEM. They understand what the late and great technological innovator, Steve Jobs, understood: we are strongest as thinkers and innovators when we work together. Jobs, the founder of Apple, insisted repeatedly throughout his lifetime that his success stemmed from his education in the liberal arts and the humanities. “[In my Calligraphy class],” he wrote, “I learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating… Technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” The students that I have encountered at the University of Akron already understand this. They already recognize, like Steve Jobs, that the best creations occur when people from disparate fields are brought together. They already know that there is inherent value in bringing people together who see the world differently because different voices, when brought together, help us to solve problems. Great institutions such as Stanford University, which has married computer engineering and the humanities together to create a premiere digital humanities institute, or MIT, which supports equally its musicology department as it does its mechanical engineering program, also already understand this fact. Yet the University of Akron appears unwilling to think creatively about its many disciplines and how to make sure they all flourish. The university is five to ten years behind what the institutions it aspires to become have already figured out: refusing to support the humanities and social sciences is detrimental to any great research institution. No discipline is sealed off from the other, and we should not want them to be. Lastly, I was shocked and truly upset to discover that, after I had received an offer from another institution, the University of Akron was unwilling to give me a counter-offer. I loved my time here and my history colleagues and I was committed to finding a way to stay. Yet the silence that came from the provost about my position made me feel so unwelcome that I became convinced that I should leave. Clearly I was not valued if the university was unwilling to fight to retain me as a professor. Which begs the question: how does the University of Akron hope to retain excellent faculty when it is unwilling to give even a small counteroffer to a young, assistant professor? How will the

University of Akron be able to speak confidently about its commitments to diversity when it just knowingly lost a woman of color faculty member without making any attempts to keep her? I leave with the sad thought that students at the University of Akron pay a lot of money for a cheap education. By continually cutting corners when and where it can, the institution now sells poorer quality goods for a high price to its students. It has moved away from its original purpose to pursue higher learning and instead has settled to become solely a job-training center or a vocational school. The university seems to believe that it cannot afford to have both quality faculty and cost affordability in its approaches to teaching students. Its leaders have fallen for all of the traps that studies on higher education warn against: believing that institutional sustainability requires that faculty costs be minimized; thinking that quality education can be scaled to a large degree (instead of acknowledging the well-researched fact that an environment where the professor and student know each other as individuals greatly boosts the student’s critical thinking skills and his or her success and retention rate); and believing that faculty are impediments to innovation in higher education (when we are and always will be the solution). Funnily enough, I am now departing to work for a university that causes so much anxiety for Ohioans because of its excellent reputation, commitment to diversity, and support for higher learning: the University of Michigan. As a state school, the University of Michigan proves that it is possible to have a large institution educate a diverse body of students with great success. The key to doing that, my new colleagues tell me, is to focus on hiring and retaining great faculty.

— Dr. Kira Thurman

// Kira Thurman is an assistant professor of German and history (joint appointment) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She previously taught at the University of Akron in Ohio.




West Hill Neighborhood Organization


the new "pocket park" at 88 Oakdale to life. Photos taken by Svetla Morrison


JUNE 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #8 /

THE Devil Strip |


Something for Everyone. Eat. From small bites on the go to inspired culinary masterpieces, many of the city’s best dining options are right here on our block.

The Akron you’ve been waiting for has been here all along. Dine, shop, and be entertained at the crossroads of commerce, culture, & cuisine!

Drink. The Historic Arts District has it all: draft brews, small batch bourbons, bottled craft beers, signature cocktails, & more!

Be Merry.

Meet the Neighbors.

Retail shops, an indie movie theater, art museum, jewelry shops, & handcrafted art to put a smile on your face.

BLU Jazz+

Live Jazz • Fine Food • Spirits • Photo Gallery Featuring the best in regional, national, & international live jazz talent, Wed-Sat. Inspired fine dining, signature cocktails, craft beer, and more!



Wine Bar • Gathering Space • Acoustic Music Intimate space for events ranging from small gatherings to large soirees. Boasting a vast selection of reds, whites, and bubbles!




Live Music • Event Space • Bar Follow the sizzlin’ orange glow to the all-new vibrant bar layout and scorching sound & lighting systems. Special events include live rock/folk/alternative shows, open mic, karaoke, dance parties, & comedy.



Find your Way.


Urban Eats

Pop Art Cafe • Wraps, Paninis • Coffee Daily specials feature specialty wraps, paninis, flatbread pizzas, soups from scratch, coffee, espresso, pastries, & Mary Coyle ice cream! Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm.

Even more reasons to Visit (& Stay). • Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar • 3 Point Restaurant • Crave


Plenty o’ Parking. • Free parking in the deck attached to the Akron Public Library on High St. • Metered street parking (free after 6pm) • Valet Parking

• Rubber City Clothing • Nightlight Cinema • WE Gallery

Profile for The Devil Strip

Issue 8 - Can Beer Save Akron?  

We take a long look at the best of Akron's brewmasters, from homebrewers to the big boys at Thirsty Dog and Hoppin' Frog with stops along th...

Issue 8 - Can Beer Save Akron?  

We take a long look at the best of Akron's brewmasters, from homebrewers to the big boys at Thirsty Dog and Hoppin' Frog with stops along th...