Page 1

Why don’t zombies eat clowns? Altered Realm Radio knows (pg. 10)

Rare grooves: the hidden history of Akron’s Soul Toronadoes (pg. 25)

How the Rock Mill will make you glad to climb the walls this winter (pg. 31)


e r u t l u C & t r A , ic s u Akron M

When being home for the holidays means you work the bar (page 10)


Welcome Akronites clearly love this city but it’s anchored by something heartbreaking and heavy, the residue of a 30-year-old story that Akron is a place people leave. However, that story is falling apart. Folks are realizing Akron is more than that. The faithful, whether they’ve been at it for two years or two decades, aren’t just succeeding. They’re growing in number.

The Devil Strip lture

Cleveland is hanging on for the Cavs to win a title, but Akron won the moment LeBron announced he was coming home (though he never really left the 330). If you’re going to turn your narrative around, it helps to have the greatest NBA player of his generation on your side. Little things help too.

Akron Music, Art & Cu

Publisher >> Chris “Somehow missed the email you sent in June” Horne

Art Director >> Alesa Upholzer, Talented and Patient

Visuals Editor >> Svetla “The Balkan Comrade” Morrison

Copy Editor >> Jessica “My name is not Jecca” Cherok

Sales Director >> TJ Masterson –

The Editorial Team >> Arts Section Editor: Bronlynn “Space Kitty” Thurman Assistant Arts Editors: Megan "insides made of cheese" Combs, recovering loser/hoser/poser Noor Hindi, Will Get Back to Chris about That Community & Culture Section Editors: M. Sophie Hamad, ambitious wordsmith and mama Katie “Miss Scarlet in the Conservatory with a candlestick” Jackson Assistant Culture Club Editor: Ilenia “Our Short, Tired Garbanzo Bean Eatin', WTF Video Girl Writer” Pezzaniti Music & Entertainment Section Editors: Jenny Conn, Real O.G. Storyteller Mackenzie “Needs a whimsical middle name” Mehrl Music Editor: Brittany “Sass Master Flash” Nader

Staff writers >> Andrew “Has a mighty fine beard” Leask; Christopher with K “not to be confused with Chris H” Morrison; Roger Riddle, Wears the Purple Pants; Elizabeth “Only in Akron” Tyran; Joanna Wilson, Director of the Dept. of Tattoos & Morrissey

Columnists >> Holly “The Wanderer” Brown; Dominic Caruso, Swiss Artsy Knife; Emily “Potty Perfectionist” Dressler and Marissa Marangoni, Bathroom Culture Enthusiast; Chris “the Film Freak” Kessinger; Kyra “Drama Queen” Kelley; Natalie Warren, a Life in Red Lipstick; Katie “Um, can you repeat the question?” Wheeler

The A/V Club >>

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, my favorite restaurant was the Marathon gas station on MLK in downtown Macon. I’d given up on using the kitchen in the apartment I shared with Roger Riddle, and I was often too broke to dine out. Except at gas stations. On a typical visit, I’d buy two packs of cigarettes then grab a hot dog from the roller, load it down with free condiments, especially relish and mayo for added heft, and chase it with Little Debbie cakes. A bag of Tom’s salt and vinegar chips was 99 cents, and the Powerade was usually twofor-$1.50. This Marathon also served sausage and egg biscuits, made from scratch. When I couldn’t afford anything “fresh” from the warmer, I settled for a Slim Jim. I may weigh more now, but I’m healthier, which isn’t saying much. I believe the two most important stories in the world are the story we tell ourselves about ourselves and the story we tell the world about who we are. We don’t choose whether to tell these stories but we can choose what story we tell. If you leave it to chance, you can end up on the gas station diet. I let my ego go unchecked because a column I wasn’t paid to write made me popular on one side of two blocks in our small town. Without meaning to, I lived down to a story I told myself about being a funny, likeable drunk who could string together words. I was, and can still be, a funny, likeable drunk, but I was, and am, more. I just hadn’t realized it then.

Paul “I don’t write” Hoffman; Jacob Luther, the Towny Townie Toonist; Bronlynn “Enemy of Avocados, Destroyer of PEEPS” Thurman; The Shane Wynn Supremacy

Contributors >> Allie Angelo, Mary Menzemer, Shelby Heitzenrater, Brit Charek, Craftiest Staff Writer/Maker of Empires; Jessica Conti, Says She’s Not That Clever But Must Be Lying; Heather “Doctor, Doctor” Braun; Eric Morris, Was Abducted By Jojo Pizzaface’; Scott Piepho; Bert Stevens


CONTACT US: Office ................................................. (330) 842-6606 General Info ........................... Advertising .............................. Distribution Website .................................. Facebook Twitter .............................................. @akrondevilstrip Instagram ............................................. @thedevilstrip The Devil Strip is published bi-monthly by Random Family, LLC. Akron Distribution: The Devil Strip is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. Copyright: The entire contents 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.


Maddy and Liz That changed after I met the smart, smokin’ hot blonde who would later become my wife. She saw things in me I couldn’t fathom. Whatever it was, I began to see it too. This former two pack-a-day smoker has run three marathons without dying in any of them. I’m also co-creator of a darling little girl who turns 5 shortly after this issue prints. Sometimes, I eat vegetables. When I changed my story, my behavior changed.

Little like TinyCircuits (page 38), which ships wee arduinos all over the globe, creating jobs for young, talented folks here. It’s also about people who aren’t household names, like Robert Keith, who came back from NYC to teach drama at Miller South (page 14), his alma mater. It’s about small shops, like Sweet Mary’s Bakery (page 20) which is run by boomeranged native Mary Hospodarsky, who became my hero when I read this: “It dawned on me that the reason there’s nothing down here is that people like me won’t take the initiative to bring something down here.” After nine years of hustle, she’s just opened a storefront downtown.

cause to remember this city is more than where the world’s tires were born. That means we can reclaim our cultural touchstones, from Devo and Rita Dove to Michael “Dynamite” Dokes and Dick Goddard… I mean Jim Jarmusch and Lux Interior to Ruby & the Romantics. Devo, Rita Dove, Chrissie Hynde, the Knights, Ruby & the Romantics, Jim Jarmusch, Lux Interior, Dynamite Dokes, James Ingram, Lewis Miller, Stanley Ovshinsky, Clark Gable and Dick Goddard (just kidding), to name only a few. As impressive as that bunch is, bouncing back has more to do with the small, local stories because they’re our mortar. This is how we see ourselves at The Devil Strip, telling stories about Akron to remind ourselves that this place isn’t just capable of greatness but that it’s achieving it on the regular already. Our writers, photographers, editors, street team and sales folks are all after the same thing: To be the mirror this community deserves. Thanks for giving us the opportunity. We’re excited about the 2016 that lies ahead for us all.

Take Care, Chris

This issue is unintentionally, but also unsurprisingly, thick with good stories coming out of the University of Akron, ringing with this new narrative about expats returning and transplants setting down roots. The Akron Poetry Prize (page 12) is run out of UA Press by Mary Biddinger (Issue #1), who hails from Illinois and was recently awarded a NEA grant as a professor poet at the university. California native Marie Bucoy-Calavan (page 7) is doing big things for UA’s choral program. Then there’s Liz and Nathan Yokum (page 31), former Zips who already run one business here, Rock Candy Holds, and are about to open up another, Rock Mill Climbing. But don’t sleep on current students like our own Sophie Hamad and Noor Hindi (page 13), or Josh Gardy (page 29), who came from Phoenix but talks passionately about this town like a hard-core Akronite. To think the university’s impact is only, or even largely, relegated to the economics of our largest employers is to sell UA and its people short. It is bigger and more meaningful than the “run it like a business” argument. (You can run it like a university and still “balance your checkbook.” Businesses are about making a profit, which shouldn’t be UA’s goal.) There are numerous reasons here and elsewhere to celebrate the cultural contributions to this new Akron story by the people who make UA “one of our most valuable and treasured assets,” to quote my favorite Akron Beacon Journal ad. Until recently, the city has struggled with the same mindset, having limited its value to what it produces and thinking mostly of that output in economic terms. But even in the boom years, this place was always more than just the Rubber Capital of the World, and that is as true now as it was when the rubber factories closed and the population plummeted. It’s more evident these days, perhaps. King James and the Black Keys have carried a torch for Akron, giving us and others

About the Cover

Mario Nemr (left) and Ray Nemer (right) are cousins and grew up in very similar households: their parents' bars. They came up in now iconic Akron establishments like Thursday's Lounge, Manny's and The Matador, so while most of us are napping off our holiday meals, folks like them--people in the service industry--are going to work. Since they're the ones we turn to when we want to blow off steam with our extra time off, it only seemed fitting to turn our attention to what the holidays are like for them. Fortunately, photographer Shane Wynn was also available to fit into Mario's and Ray's tight schedule for a few great shots.

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


the agenda >>


19 ways to enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas (and then some)

compiled by Danny Durst and staff


hether you celebrate Christmas or not, you’re probably familiar with this “12 Days of Christmas,” which doesn’t even start until Christmas Day. That’s a long ways off still—and it runs through January 6?—so to make sure you get your money’s worth, we’ve got a killer list of things to do to get you in the spirit of the season, Akron-style, so you can really enjoy yourself when you get to those 12 special days.

Archie the Talking Snowman Chapel Hill Mall Ongoing during mall hours You think this holiday tradition isn't an event worth talking about? Joanna Wilson would probably disagree. Make sure you have a copy of her latest book, The Story of Archie the Talking Snowman, in hand when you go. You never know when Joanna might be watching...or that other guy up north. (Story on page 15) The Twelve Dates of Christmas Summit Artspace Dec. 4 - 19 with Thurs.-Sat. shows at 7:30pm and 2pm shows Sun. Is Elizabeth Allard a modern-day superwoman of the theater? She may only be a librarian in real life. But come night, she will be taking the stage in Ginna Hoben's one-woman show. This new holiday classic comes as a gift from Rubber City Shakespeare Company. The production is new in their season and a step away from Shakespeare. It’s nothing like that Scottish play, but be warned. It might still be a good night to spring for a babysitter. 3rd Annual Krampusnacht Annabell’s Saturday, Dec. 5 at 6 pm Don’t chance upsetting Krampus. Go to Annabell’s in costume and enjoy live music with Seance, The Hot Wings and FleischGewehR, plus a fire


performance by Lita Rabbit and the Promenade of Krampus through Highland Square. Your ticket includes an authentic European buffet with bratwurst, spaetzle, sauerkraut balls, meatballs, glühwein and more.

and professional artists. On Family Day, for the 11th year, the museum will open its doors for free to encourage donations of new, unwrapped toys for children in need. Hours and more info at The Arcs Akron Civic Theatre Tuesday, Dec. 8 Never heard of ‘em.

Jeff ‘JCK’ Klemm Musica Saturday, Dec. 5 While JCK’s first solo album is set for launch Dec. 11, the Maid Myriad frontman is offering local music lovers a chance to drink it in almost a week early when he performs the whole album, “Burying the Shadows,” live on stage at Musica. Sancat and Hell & Highwater will open. Tickets are available at and the album will be available at when it’s released. (Catch JCK on Dec. 20 at Annabell’s for free with Ricky Miller of Red Sun Rising, Chris Bentley of The Most Beautiful Losers, Nick Wilkinson and more at Sad Songs For Sad Bastard's By Sad Bastard's presents ‘Holiday Tear’)

Island of Misfit Toys Family Day Akron Art Museum Sunday, Dec. 6 This quirky exhibition, curated by Rob Lehr, the gallery director for Summit Artspace, runs through February 28, 2016 and features blank vinyl Munny toys customized and decorated by both students

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16

Hoseff Annabell’s Lounge Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 8pm What would you get if you put a guitar and some keys in front of a couple of gypsies? If you missed the show at Annabelle's in November or in Cleveland the night before, this is your chance to find out. If you don’t know the music, Hoseff has been compared to the sound of Frank Zappa and Gorgol Bordello. Does that help? We only hope Angie Haze will take the night away from her Angie Haze Project to relive parts of their last album.

Dr. Sketchy’s Outta This World Holiday Extravaganza Jilly’s Music Room Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 7:30 p to 10:30 p Imagine yourself an alien landing on our planet smack in the middle of the holiday season. That’s the set-up for the next Dr. Sketchy’s when Nina Bellina returns to embody the aforementioned extra-terrestrial holiday guest. Holiday Pops: Home for the Holidays E.J. Thomas Hall Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 pm; milk & cookies at 6:30 pm Kids, grab your fancy jammies. The Akron Symphony Orchestra will be playing holiday favorites in the company of dancers from the Martell School of Dance. They say they'll have music, dancers AND a visitor from the North Pole? We’re guessing one of them won't be a penguin.

Neil Zaza's 'One Silent Night' Hard Rock Rocksino, Northfield Park Saturday, Dec. 12 This guitar-slaying Akronite dropped a new album, “Peach,” on October 1 and then went off on a month-long tour of Asia. Now he’s back, we all get to rock in the holidays with Neil Zaza at the helm of his legendary “One Silent Night,” an evening of instrumental rock takes on traditional Christmas classics. Someone called it “Hendrix meets Beethoven under the Christmas tree,” which sounds like a winner to us. Missle Toe at Akron Art Museum Dec. 17 from 6:30-8:30pm Is this really the world’s greatest Christmas band? This may be one of your best opportunities to judge for yourself. Missile Toe began celebrating the holiday season with their Pants Optional Holiday Tour back in October alongside most retailers. Akron Art Museum will host the group on one of their Free Thursdays in December. Walk through the museum while you are there, but you should probably wear pants. Jon Mosey Trio Jilly's Music Room Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8pm It might be hard to beat a pants optional show. But there’s no reason you can’t see two bands in one night! Simply put, the Jon Mosey Trio is an Akronbased, all original Blues/Rock band. According to them, "We play the music that gets the asses a shakin' Hell Yeah!" Any questions? The Scintas Christmas Show Tangier Friday, Dec. 18 - Sunday, Dec. 20 You might think you’re buying a ticket to see The Scintas sing—and you will hear their great music and hilarious comedy—but you’re going to see


the agenda Dino and Jerry, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and a slew of others.

institution in our book. You should plan to party accordingly.

Frankie Starr Band Mustard Seed Cafe’ Saturday, Dec. 19 This Cleveland-born bluesman got started in music at age 8, eventually playing drums in his mom’s band. He switched to guitar and has since opened up for BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray and Leon Russell, among others.

THE SCENE Arts editor Megan Combs paints a polka dot Bill Murray portrait with help from smArt Studios owner Jennifer Davis

First Night Akron Various locations around downtown Akron Thursday, Dec. 31 Some of our favorite live local music all on one big night in family-friendly environs from the John S. Knight Center, Akron Library and Akron Art Museum to the Civic and Greystone Hall, and many more. There’s too much to name, but you can take in performances by Brian Lisik, Theron Brown, the Gage Brothers, the Angie Haze Project, Copali, Kofi Boayke, the UA Steel Drum Band and Shivering Timbers. Plus, fun stuff like Silent Disco, lots of kid stuff and something special with Wandering Aesthetics. Get the details at Get On Up Tangier 7th Annual Ryan Humbert Thursday, Dec. 31 Holiday Extravaganza Akron's retro 80's funk band, Get On Up, helps Akron Civic Theatre you ring in the New Year at Tangier with their Sunday, Dec. 20-Monday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 pm butt-shaking grooves while you prepare for the It’s a country-fried Christmas at the Civic with champagne toast and balloon drop. You get a Hillbilly Idol and Emily Bates joining headliner Ryan deluxe bar and appetizer buffet to boot. Call 330Humbert in a cabaret setting show to benefit Akron 376-7171 for details. General’s Muffins for Mammograms Program. It’s a cause close to Ryan’s heart after his mother beat cancer. Now he wants to help other woman get The Juke Hounds screened early. Jilly’s Music Room Thursday, Dec. 31 19th annual Illstyle Rockers Christmas Jam Rock in the new year at Jilly’s with the horn-based Annabell’s Swizzle Stick Band and the bluesy boogie of the Saturday, Dec. 26 Juke Hounds. Gobble up the goodies on the For almost two decades, the Illstyle Rockers crew buffet line all night then cap the countdown with has unleashed the four elements of hip-hop in this a champagne toast with the JMR flute you get to annual Christmas Jam. That makes it an Akron take home with you. Details at

United Way of Summit County


Friends feast on the spread at the Devil Strip's first annual Family Reunion.

DJ Roger Riddle gets some bodies moving at The Mighty Soul Night.

Through Bridges Summit county, United Way is building a more prosperous and sustainable community – for all of us. To donate or volunteer, go to UWSUMMIT.ORG

great things happen when we LIVE UNITED! United Way of Summit County UWSUMMIT.ORG


DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


Tour your own town with

Discover Downtown Akron Passports C








A family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts in Downtown Akron

Enjoy more than a dozen art, culture and entertainment offerings in 2016 for just $15! With each passport you’ll receive free admission to popular Downtown Akron events and destinations, including an admission button to the 20th annual First Night Akron ($10 value) on New Year’s Eve. Visit for complete details (Only 1,500 passports available, so act fast.)

On Sale Now

Thursday, st December 31 6p.m. to midnight

Admission buttons on sale NOW for only $10 at Acme Fresh Market, FirstMerit Bank branches and Follow us on #firstnightakron16




arts >>


Photos courtesy of Svetla Morrison


Marie Bucoy-Calavan, the University of Akron’s choir director, is destroying stereotypes that are normally associated with millennials, the arts, and choral music. Through passion and hard work, she is reaching into the past to grab music from as far back as the 15th century. Even better yet, people are jumping aboard this bandwagon to go for the ride.

Growing up between Los Angeles and Orange counties in southern California, Marie BucoyCalavan’s first musical memory was of her as a toddler turning a chair over and using the legs as a microphone. She says her parents still have a picture of that moment. And though they may find it amusing now, it was probably the first sign that her parents would have some concern about their daughter's future ambitions.

instructor. On top of that, she was a vocal major but really didn't enjoy singing solo.

Her parents were both chemists. As Bucoy-Calavan grew, she leaned more and more towards music. Although they supported her passion, allowing her to take flute lessons through high school and dabble in the French horn, they dreamed of a future for their daughter in the fields of science and technology. So much so, that they sent her to a technical high school.

Istad was young, talented, and brand new as the director of choral studies at the university. After convincing her to stay and complete her undergraduate degree, she became his first conducting graduate student taking on a Master’s degree in choral conducting. Since Istad was so new to the program, there was a sense of the blind leading the blind, however he promised her that she would learn a lot about how to develop a collegiate choral program really quickly.

The memory of singing with the choir was still strong in her mind, and when she told her professor and mentor, Robert Istad, of her plans to leave the program, he convinced her to stay in school and do her thesis as conductor instead of as a soloist.

It only intensified her pursuit of music. You would think that someone who has become so entrenched in classical music would have that style as the foundation of her musical tastes, but that’s not what she listened to growing up. “My colleagues in my doctorate said their parents brought them up on the Mahler symphonies and the Beethoven symphonies, and I did not grow up that way whatsoever,” she said. Her parents played ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s pop music, and she lists ABBA, the Mamas and the Papas, and Michael Jackson among her early favorites.


The transition to classical music began when she joined the choir in high school. Because of her interest, the choir director started giving her conducting and music theory lessons on the side. By the time she began college at California State University, Fullerton, she was placed in the graduate choir due to her ability to read music well. “Once I sang and I felt my voice get lost in these really mature singers' sound, I went, 'This is it, right here',” she remembers of the moment that set her firmly in the world of classical music.

“I think it's so cool that when you sing in a choir and everything is so perfectly in tune and so perfectly blended that the sound that comes out is not just your own. You're an intricate part of this fabric that's so much bigger than yourself, creating a sound that only a group of people can make.” And this was just her first day of classes as an undergraduate freshman. Surprisingly, she almost quit the program in her last year of studies. She had been competing as a ballroom dancer and received a job offer as an

Bucoy-Calavan stresses how important those days were once she took on the position of concert choir director at the University of Akron. Now she has a sense of history repeating itself as she takes on her first graduate student while she is building the program. When she started with the university, there were 22 members in the concert choir. It had grown to 41 members by the end of her first year. At the start of this semester, there were 86 members. (continued on page 10)

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |



Artistic Repurpose

Summit ReWorks, local artists capitalize on Akron’s penchant for reinvention written and photographed by Bronlynn Thurman


n creating their work, artists typically attempt to make a statement. What better statement could be made than that of rebirth? By taking the trash of others, artists convey to the viewer that everything has a second life. The evening of November 7, several art shows in the area honed in on this concept. Summit ReWorks, a local nonprofit that was developed out of Ohio’s 1988 solid waste law, H.B. 592, created an event called “Make Art Not Waste” where 12 artists were given the opportunity to create pieces with used latex paint. The company’s mission statement states that it “provides solutions and leadership to empower our community, institutions and businesses to develop and utilize environmentally sound, cost-effective

recycling and waste management strategies.” Both executive director Yolanda Walker and education/ promotion specialist Shelly Kadilak say it can be incredibly hard to discard of latex paint. It must be dried out or mixed with absorbent materials like kitty litter. Because many people don’t know this, places like

ReWorks are left with tons of unrecyclable paint. Over the course of three days, these artists received access to Summit Artspace and developed stunning pieces. For every piece that is sold, part of the proceeds go to the artists while the other portion goes to ReWorks for its educational programs. Two floors up, within the Summit Artspace Box Gallery, the “Reborn” exhibit was midway through its show run. This exhibit features six artists who created sculptures from recycled materials. Some of the pieces were massive and quite impressive.

effectively drawing them out of their comfort zone, as well as bringing this idea of functionality and repurposing to the forefront. All of the pieces are on sale and one in particular is a collaborative effort with proceeds going to Project Rebuild in Canton. It brings with it the sense of community that seems to be ingrained in many Akronites. Humans create a remarkable amount of waste on a daily basis. To be able to take those bits of material and utilize them in an unconventional manner both keeps them out of the ever growing dump pile, as well as remind others of the versatility of many objects. In Akron, we’ve recently witnessed a slow push towards the recycling and “zero waste” lifestyle over the last few years from events like Big Love to these art shows. Hopefully, it’s a trend that continues to grow for years to come. // As an elfin wanderer, Bronlynn is compelled to share the news of recycling, upcycling, and “zero waste” efforts. You can find her at @_bront_ on Instagram and Twitter.

While all of this was happening in downtown, Hazel Tree Interiors, a mile or so up the road had its “Art Reclaims Function” opening party that honored the late Russ Ensign. Ensign was a Hazel Tree artist who repurposed Akron tire company tire patterns to create clocks, mirrors, etc. This event was the last showing of his work and several local artists were invited to create pieces from repurposed materials


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16



ALL DOLLED UP FOR CHRISTMAS How to make a Christmas-themed dollhouse lantern written and photographed by Megan Combs

Comics Everlasting Honoring the past while connecting the now written and photographed by Bronlynn Thurman

I let my geek flag fly on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the fourth annual Akron Comicon where approximately 5,000 cosplayers, fanatics, geeks, freaks, artists and purists converged upon the Quaker Station downtown to rub elbows, talk shop about universes and enjoy themselves. A merging of the past, present and future, Akron Comicon focuses on newspaper comics and comic books, bringing in a legend like Allen Bellman, who worked for Timely Comic which became Marvel, as well as contributors to classic works like Craig Boldman, an illustrator for Archie Comics and The Adventures of Superman, and Mike Zeck, who has drawn for “The Punisher” and “Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars”. Yet, they realize that times are changing. In an age where print is fighting digital and the major publishers are sticking to the classics, many creators have begun to tackle new frontier. Akron Comicon brought in independent publishers like Broken Icon Comics and Scott Comics because self-publishing, indie publishers and web comics have become a major driving force in the industry. Within the conference room, they hosted panel discussions, a cosplay contest and comic book workshops. I attended a portion of two of the panels in between shaking hands with some of the people who had a hand in making my favorite


comics growing up. “The Kirby Effect!” with Tom Scioli was the first that I popped into and then The 30th Anniversary of Marvel’s “Secret Wars” discussion with John Beatty and Mike Zeck, which celebrated its incredible history. The main room was flooded with people. On one end they could get their photo taken with props at the Pop! The Comic Culture Club booth, while on the other they could interact with some of the bigger names. In between, they could buy art prints, figurines, comics and more.

Holiday decorations don’t get any easier than this (unless you don’t put any out). I’ve seen variations of these dollhouse lanterns on Pinterest and decided to try one for this holiday season. Picking the pieces for the scene is the best part, besides plugging it in and gazing at your work. Shopping for the pieces took longer than putting it together. I finished in about 30 minutes. The project cost was about $70, with the lantern and the lights being the most expensive items.

Step 2: Remove the Christmas lights from the box. Unbundle the adapter end of the lights and stuff them into the top of your lantern. Keep the lights in place by affixing a few strips of tape across the top of your lantern. Remember to leave some string hanging out of the top to plug in. Step 3: Attach the lid, making sure not to smash any light bulbs, and plug it in! Cute!

Next year, Akron Comicon takes over the John S. Knight Center and that is exciting.

enemy of the standard, can be found hoarding her prized

I also chose small christmas lights that I strung around the outside top and bottom of the lantern, similar to how a house would be decorated.

What you’ll need (All found at Hobby Lobby): • Lantern with a removeable top or opening side panel • One box of white Christmas lights • Various pieces of dollhouse furniture • Glue (optional) • Tape

I couldn’t leave without purchasing something to remember my time there. I scored two really sweet fan art prints from JM Dragnunas. One features Adventure Time characters while the other features familiar characters from many of Hayao Miyazaki’s films like “Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” The amount of detail that went into each illustration leaves me in awe and is a testament to the amount of skill gathered in one room.

// Bronlynn, elfin comic collector, cartoonist and sworn

is optional. I chose a living room setting with a Christmas tree, rocking chair, table, coffee, cookies and a cat sleeping in a basket.

Step 1: Open the lantern and arrange all your furniture to your liking. Gluing down the pieces

// Megan is a Decorative Doris during this time of year.

comics in her treehouse. She can also occasionally be found at @_bront_ on Instagram and Twitter.

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


arts (continued from page 7) When people see those numbers, she is typically asked, “How do you sell a choral program?” She says you sell excellence and musical integrity. She holds her students to a high standard and they all jump to exceed it. She now sees students meeting at 9 am to practice on their own, and when she ends rehearsal, they break into groups and practice more. Her passion is infectious. Because of the students’ passion, they have formed a chamber choir that has been invited to sing with the Cleveland Orchestra during its Christmas performance, and award-winning composer Daniel Elder was commissioned to compose a work for the University of Akron choir.

From left: Jason Miller, Joseph A. Michael, Brian Dunphy and Dan Gorman, hosts of the radio show. Photo by Megan Combs.

Let’s Make Some Radio These four Akron area geeks host Altered Realm Radio every Saturday night written and photographed by Megan Combs Why don’t zombies eat clowns? They taste funny, jokes Dan Gorman, one of the voices and founder behind the Internet radio show Altered Realm Radio. His fellow co-hosts chuckle and then a song about zombies plays in the background, featuring Gorman on the guitar.

calls Gorman’s dad. They say hello and then let him rant for 20 minutes about anything and everything. Then there’s Georgio Pelogrande, the parody sports, weather and traffic reporter who is notorious for getting all his facts wrong. The part is played by Dunphy.

Gorman, a comic book illustrator who lives in Cuyahoga Falls and grew up in Green, had always been interested in hosting a radio show. The story of how he landed one goes way back to 2006 when he and his friends Jason Miller and Joe Dutt created a paranormal group called Team Spectre. Together the team went on several ghost hunting missions and were eventually asked to be on the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventure” show. Season 3, if you’re wondering.

“I wrote his bit a couple times and ‘called in’ as him, and they just loved it,” Dunphy said. “He touts himself as a journalist, but he never gets anything right. For example, he called in when the Cavs lost the championship and said that they won.”

“After we were on the show, radio host Bob Earley asked us to come on his show to talk about it,” Gorman smiled. “And it was just so much fun. The callers were really into it.” After being on Earley’s show, Gorman said he and Miller “caught the bug.” They started connecting with other media friends to find out how they could get their own time slot. Eventually they caught wind of a startup Internet radio station opening in Kent: KRMA Radio. In April 2015, the opportunity came. Gorman and Miller created a format for a three-hour show that started in the 9 p.m. to midnight slot on Saturday nights. Their official launch was in July, and the show was moved to the 8 p.m. to midnight time slot. For example, a regular feature is when the team


Members of the show include Gorman, a trained medical and comic book illustrator; Miller, owner of Stuff Genie Emporium in Barberton; Brian Dunphy, a comic book illustrator in Akron; and Joseph A. Michael, illustrator and creator behind the “Only Human,” zombie comic book series.

Proctor, a “Zombie Hero,” (a walker) on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” “There are a lot of radio shows that are geared toward geeks, and they dabble around in a bunch of different things,” Gorman said. “But there is no stream that covers what we cover. We give experienced insight into the things we know best.” The team also recently did a rebroadcast of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” “It was incredible,” Dunphy said. “We rewrote it and lined up a mix of serious and concerned callers.” Catch Gorman and the team every Saturday night from 8 pm to midnight on www.KRMAradio. com. Find recorded episodes by searching “Altered Realm Radio” on

Gorman said the show is a creative outlet for him, his co-hosts and their listeners. “We get to showcase our skills and talents that we haven’t showcased before,” Gorman said. “I’m an illustrator, but there’s a whole other facet to our personalities.”

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16

“The concert choir has quadrupled in a year,” she points out. “Not only has the choral program burst open at University of Akron, but the students – these millennials – are showing the community, through the quality of their music that they're not the stereotypical millennials.” The Summit Choral Society asked Bucoy-Calavan to guest conduct their spring concert last year based on the success of the work she had been doing at the university. She chose to perform Haydn's “Lord Nelson Mass” and shortly thereafter, they approached her about becoming the artistic director of the society. The fresh ideas that she brings to the table help produce concerts that captivate all ages. She has one of these fresh ideas coming in April. A concert entitled "Dance With Me" will draw upon her experience in conducting and her passion for ballroom dancing. “We are engaging the University of Akron ballroom dance team, and two professional couples from Viva Dance in Cleveland and we are going to do choral waltzes by Brahms.” While the choir sings the dancers will waltz and when the concert concludes, the director of Viva Dance will teach a small ballroom class so that the concert goers can immerse themselves in the experience. It is this type of creative thinking that the Summit Choral Society is banking will shine a new light on a music that has come to be perceived as stuffy and uptight. “It's not 1860. I realize that, but the music from 1860 can absolutely still be relevant today,” BucoyCalavan said. “I think the music that was written back then is just that good. Only good music can be preserved that long. It's just as relevant as Michael Jackson's “Bad.” It's still around. The Beatles, their music is still around. 'I'm A Barbie Girl', people know but I don't think it's going to last.”

“We laugh for four straight hours,” Gorman said. “We talk about video games, comic books, movies, TV shows, all of it.”

The show is starting to gain traction, gathering as many as 500 listeners per night, Gorman said. An estimated more than 7,000 people have tuned in over time. They have interviewed fellow comic book creators, and even celebrities such as Tim

With all the bad press the university has received of late, Bucoy-Calavan hopes Akron's arts community will take note of the great story unfolding around her students.

// Roger does cool things.

// Megan conducted this interview at the Akron Comicon and was dressed as FBI Agent Dana Scully from the “X-Files.” Above: Megan Combs interviewing radio host Brian Dunphy at Akron’s ComicCon. Photo by Megan Combs.


arts where the geeks are. Akron’s got its fair share, as do the surrounding towns and cities.” Calvert written well over 100 short stories organized into anthologies and three novels. These were all self-published by FastPencil. The stories in each anthology have little in common with each other except for the wild imagination it took to produce them. “like, what if a rabbi and demon hunt monsters together?” Calvert says. “Or, a murder mystery where the main suspect is innocent but his imaginary friend isn’t?” In his newest novel, “Murder Sauce,” and his upcoming March 2016 novel, “Frag Code,” the villainous protagonist Benjamin Cly is the main character. Calvert’s version of his protagonist is an aberration from typical heroes of stories in the sense that Cly is actually a villain cajoled into fighting other villains. But there’s more to that, of course﹘SPOILER ALERT! In Calvert’s words, “Cly’s primary goals are to survive, create a viable crime-fighting business, and make a ton of money doing it. Saving the world’s just good for business.” There is no catharsis or redemption. If you are into unapologetic, witty anti-heros like Sherlock Holmes or Holden Caulfield, Benjamin Cly just may be your next fixation. An African-American man, Calvert says being unusual is more important than just skin color in establishing one’s image. “Picture this: You walk into a room at a comic expo or something, right? You see a black guy in his forties with cover art for ‘Murder Sauce’ behind him. He’s wearing what looks to be a cowboy hat and a plaid shirt. Wouldn’t you be a little curious? Then this guy gives you a truly unique pitch. You’ll remember him, won’t you?” he says. He gives this advice to writers: “So, you’re a woman? Someone of color? In a wheelchair? Walking around with three eyes? Use your uniqueness. Catch the public’s eye, lure them over, and give them a winning pitch of your books.”


Marcus Calvert

Marcus Calvert talks about Akron’s arts presence, the importance of being unique, and of course-monsters by Mary Menzemer


hen I asked Marcus Calvert, Akron local and author of science fiction, why he moved to Akron, he responded, “Akron’s a decent place for a writer to hang one’s hat and find himself.” Originally from Detroit, Calvert initially settled in Ohio while attending John Carroll University as a political science major. After a brief stint at Northern Illinois University, he moved back to Ohio with the intention of living close to Cleveland. Instead, he discovered that Akron was actually a pretty cool place for creatives to live and work.

Despite the ongoing technological disruption in the literary business, Calvert says there are a couple of old fashioned paths to success that will never change with the times. “Readers determine your success. They’re the lifeblood of your dreams. Treat ‘em right and keep them entertained. Do it well enough and the literary universe should like you just fine﹘in time.” Check out Calvert’s website and read some sample chapters and stories at // Mary Menzemer once used her telekinetic powers to move Mount Everest two and a half inches.

“Akron’s got a strong art presence,” he wrote via email, “which makes it easier to be a writer. Even if it didn’t, and you want to write sci-fi for a living, be


DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |



‘Further Problems with Pleasure’ UA Press bounces back with Akron Poetry Prize winner Sandra Simonds by Noor Hindi

If you’ve stayed tuned to the news, you would have probably thought that the University of Akron Press had taken an early grave. But despite its near-death experience, the UA Press remains strong. “The fact of its restoration has revitalized the press, I think. I’m overjoyed, beaming, really, to see that

“If Coleridge, Plath, Ovid, and Celan started a love commune where they built a manifesto Molotov cocktail out of the pastoral, eros, blank verse, and kitsch: it would be this book,” writes Giménez Smith about Simonds’ work on the UA Press website. Biddinger, who has worked with the press since 2008, says she read 509 manuscripts this summer. She chose Simonds’ work as one of the finalists of the Akron Poetry Prize because of the voice.

UA Press website. “‘The Veronica Maneuver’ leaped out of the stack of manuscripts and announced that it was ready to be out in the world. One quality that sets Jennifer Moore’s work apart is her use of images. ‘The Veronica Maneuver’ takes numerous layers of disparate ideas and lets them work together in a brilliant sort of harmony,” Biddinger says. Moore says the title of the collection came from reading Ernest Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon.” “The more I learned about its etymology, its appropriation into the bullfighting arena, its historical and religious significance, the more I realized my aesthetic interests were bound up in the same sorts of resonances that emerge from the term: drawing the eye of a reader or viewer, or bull; dazzling the audience through visual image, spectacle or performance; considering what’s ‘true’ about a ‘true image’ (vera, ‘true’ and eikon, ‘image,’ so veronica literally means true image),” Moore says.

Above: Jennifer Moore, author of UA Press's most recent poetry collection "The Veronica Maneuver." (pictured to the right)

public support for the arts can wield real power,” says Jennifer Moore, author of UA Press’s most recent poetry collection “The Veronica Maneuver.”

“Too often, collections of poems apologize for their own assertions and emotions, and ‘Further Problems with Pleasure’ is the antidote to that problem,” Biddinger says. “From the first line of this book I was completely captivated by the power of the speaker’s voice. I also value the fact that it’s an important contribution to feminist discourse.”

On September 25, the UA Press announced author Sandra Simonds’ poetry manuscript, “Further Problems with Pleasure” had won the Akron Poetry Prize, which includes $1,500 and the publication of the poet’s manuscript. This news came a few weeks To prevent competing against Simonds’ most after the temporary layoffs of the UA Press staff recent publication, “Steal it Back,” which has been members Amy Freels and Carol Slatter. available since Dec. 1 from Saturnalia Books, the publication of “Further Problems with Pleasure” “(Winning is) great because I get to take all my has been delayed until early 2017. friends out for dinner and drinks,” says Simonds. “I think that this collection is an attempt to 2015 Akron Poetry Prize judge Carmen Giménez understand what pleasure is and the limits of Smith chose the manuscript from a list of 18 pleasure, or the body, as a site of liberation, of finalists. The finalists were picked by Akron Series in freedom, especially for women who are punished Poetry editor and UA professor Dr. Mary Biddinger. for both experiencing pleasure and seeking it out in [Ed. note: In the interests of full disclosure, Dr. a ‘masculine’ way,’” Simonds says Biddinger is Noor Hindi’s poetry instructor at the University of Akron but that played zero part in the Coinciding with the announcement of the 2015 editorial decision to run this profile of the work Akron Poetry Prize, Moore’s “The Veronica being done by UA Press. - Chris H.] Maneuver” is available for purchase through the


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16

Biddinger says there is much to celebrate about the press. Its national recognition and eclectic publications makes the press stand as a critical part of our community, and among university presses in the United States as a whole. “What we aspire to do now, and hope to continue to do at the UA Press, is to publish an eclectic catalog of work that will please our current readership while bringing new readers back to poetry,” Biddinger says. “Whether they’re seasoned poetry fans who are checking out every new Akron Series in Poetry collection, or people who loved poetry back in the day but somehow drifted away from it, we have just the right book. [We] like to publish collections that help readers rediscover poetry, and in doing that we have an obligation to represent a variety of voices. Poetry is for everyone; it’s something to be shared.” // Noor Hindi just really loves poetry.

Although the administration never formally closed the press, the ultimately brief layoff of Freels and Slatter could have lead to the eventual death of the UA Press. “What they clearly did not understand is that the press would not continue without these two employees. You could never lay off these two people and keep the press running,” transitional director and Associate Professor Dr. Jon Miller says. Without Freels and Slatter, the press would have lacked a design coordinator, as well as a print manufacturing and digital production coordinator, which are both critical jobs. Miller was one of the many individuals who stood up for the press in the summer when Scarborough was making budget cuts. “I emphasized its alignment with academic programs, its potential and its use for the students,” Miller says. “If you’re going to talk about experiential learning, internships and careerfocused, sort of applied [learning], you would want to keep it. It’s one thing to teach people to do writing, and then it’s another thing to teach people how to actually get their writing published.” Since then, UA President Scott Scarborough has pledged to keep the press running, as well as maintain its full membership in the Association of American University Presses.

If you’d like to

Celebrate Poetry with the UA Press, please visit and purchase a collection for you or a friend.



Where the Rubber City meets the road An Akron adventure to Bowling Green for Mid-American Review’s 15th Annual Winter Wheat Festival written and photographed by M. Sophie Hamad

I am a socially awkward person. The great thing about being at a writers’ conference is that I am not alone in social awkwardness, but rather I am surrounded by it. It’s nice to feel a part of something—even if that something is awkward.

Friday morning, we had a tasty brunch at Naslada, a Mediterranean bistro on Main Street in Bowling Green. The Turkish coffee with Turkish delight was good enough that I enjoyed it black. I’ve since dropped sugar from my coffee routine.

reading. It was exhilarating and fun, but I’m glad Noor got it on video, so I can know what to do differently next time: drink first, less shaking, more laughter.

The Winter Wheat Festival at Bowling Green State University, hosted by the university’s international literary journal the Mid-American Review (MAR), has been bringing writers together—awkward or not—for 15 years. Every November, writers flock to BGSU to connect with other literary enthusiasts for a weekend. Writers attend up to six of the 48 craft workshops (eight options for each of the six sessions), in addition to four scheduled book readings and signings, and a book fair on Saturday. This year also offered two open mic readings at downtown Bowling Green pubs, as well as a round-table discussion with the editors of MAR to kick off the Friday afternoon workshops.

We then proceeded to get half-lost for the rest of our trip. We turned around more times than I can count. I repeatedly lost and found my hat. Friday’s round table discussion was informative but kind of boring. The editors of MAR answered questions about how they do what they do and what they are looking for in regards to submissions and contributors. MAR had a check-in table set up with dozens of books for sale. Tweetstalk McWheatley (the new MAR mascot, introduced this year) was present to greet guests (quietly—he is a plush animal, after all).

Saturday was the main event. Most people travelling from Akron only attended Friday’s open mic and Saturday’s BGSU festivities. The book fair was epic—or at least it was epic for me and Noor. I’m sure the book fair at the AWP Conference is a million times more wallet-breaking, but this was a good introduction for us. I filled a free tote bag, courtesy of Lit Youngstown, with 25 books. I could have picked 50, but my bank account yelled at me for considering it.

There were two conference sessions on Friday. Noor and I chose one about writing memoir through meditation, which ended up being my second favorite workshop, and one about Nonce poetry, which was kind of weird and not as exciting as I’d hoped.

There were four workshop sessions on Saturday. Noor and I enjoyed writing exquisite corpse surrealist poetry and performing a Dada poetry piece with the rest of the attendees at the “Text/ Sound/Text/Music” workshop. Noor got a lot out of that workshop—it was her favorite.

I went with fellow Akronite and Devil Strip associate arts editor Noor Hindi. This was our first writers’ conference. She drove her badass sports car, but didn’t push the “sport” button on the turnpike. Thank you, Noor. We got into Bowling Green late in the evening, had a quick dinner and missed the first two readings because we were just too tired.

After dinner, Michael Czyzniejewski read from his book of short stories, “I Will Love You for the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories.” It was hilarious. His story about dingdongs made me cry-laugh. We ended the night at Grumpy Dave’s Pub with the open mic hosted by Akron’s own “Rubbertop Review” in collaboration with “Slippery Elm.” I did my first open mic Winter Wheat Book Fair. Photo courtesy of M. Sophie Hamad/The Devil Strip


The most inspirational workshop for me, though, was taught by Jennifer Moore, whose book “The Veronica Maneuver” was just published by UA Press for the Akron Poetry Series. (see Noor’s write-up on page 13). Her workshop was called “Recycling Language: Techniques for Creating Innovative Poems from Existing Texts,” and she taught us how to make poems using erasure and Cento forms. I wrote a fun poem using erasure, but most importantly I walked away with a head full of ideas for future poems. Erasure might be my new best poetry friend for a while. (Pictured above: M. Sophie Hamad’s erasure poem created in Jennifer Moore’s workshop. Photo courtesy of M. Sophie Hamad/The Devil Strip)

Tarfia Faizullah reading at BGSU. Photo courtesy of M. Sophie Hamad/The Devil Strip

After the workshops, I got to fangirl hard. Tarfia Faizullah, author of “Seam,” a moving collection of documentary poetics about Bangladeshi women who were raped by Pakistani soldiers during the 1971 Liberation War, read some poems and signed books. We were wearing the exact same cardigan. I pointed that out to her after gushing about how much I love her work, how much she has inspired me and how I wrote an essay on one of her poems for American Women Poets class last year. I don’t even think that she was weirded out by any of it, which made me love her even more. We then attempted to attend Friday night’s after party and poetry reading at Two Foxes Gastropub. We stayed for the food but left at the beginning of open mic because the feedback noise coming from the portable amp was awful. We were exhausted and missing Akron anyway. I’ll definitely return to Bowling Green, but probably not until next year’s Winter Wheat. // M. Sophie Hamad writes poetry and is grateful to be doing so in Akron, versus Bowling Green. NEO, represent!

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |



THE ARTS RULE AT MILLER SOUTH How this unique curriculum, diverse student body and focus on student interests make Miller South one-of-a-kind by Mary Menzemer The Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts is a unique community where the school colors are black and hot pink. Few, if any, people are afraid to be themselves. In school assistant Sharon Conner’s words, “We expect students to be singing in the elevators and dancing in the hallways.” Conner gave me a tour during the school’s open house on Nov. 5. Upon walking in the door to the school, I was immediately greeted by a girl wearing a huge smile and a black choker necklace who handed me a welcome packet and was nothing short of ecstatic at pointing me in the direction of the main office. Her voice was clear and confident, which impressed me. Miller South was founded in 1993 as an arts magnet school. When the school’s funding was in danger because its allotted amount of time was ending, the community rallied to continue support for the education Miller South offers. In turn, the

visual arts, piano, drama, voice and music programs continue to thrive, creating a bridge for students to get involved in the Akron arts community. Principal Dawn Wilson explained how the school partners with Weathervane Playhouse and the Akron Symphony to have students perform opening acts. Their artwork hangs in the mayor’s office as well as at Akron

Children’s Hospital. They compete in scholastic arts competitions at the state level, participate in the Honor’s Band and win Thespian Awards for Firestone Theatre. “Our partnerships help create and synthesize information,” Wilson says. “If [a student] is

interested in the arts, there isn’t a better place to be,” Conner says. At the open house, the students gave periodic performances to show prospective kids and their parents just what they can do. I witnessed a jazz band performance during which the teacher played the saxophone along with the students. I also witnessed a performance

given by the show choir who wore glittery outfits. The boys and girls sang a rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and danced. As I wandered through the school, Conner introduced me to the teachers who make it possible for the school to function in accordance with its high standards. Many of the teachers were alumni themselves or even have children who are enrolled in the school. Technical drama teacher Robert Keith is a recent college graduate who attended the school in 2004. He matriculated in New York City where he was involved with the Wall Street Theatre. He’s excited about what he and the other teachers are able to do at Miller South.

Ice Skating Rink

Ohio’s Largest Seasonal Ice Rink! Skate rental $3.

Polar Putt-Putt 9-Hole indoor course $3.

Arctic Adventure $

10 Unlimited All-Day Pass

Enjoy unlimited skating, putt-putt, entrance to Children’s Museum and one sled ticket. Wristband good for entire day.

Watch for special events with The First Tee of Akron.

Reindeer Run

150 ft. All-season slide designed for 14 and under. $3 for 30 min. Sleds provided.

New This Season!

Zippy’s Little Roo Rink

Presented by The University of Akron, Ohio’s Polytechnic University. Polymer skating surface designed for children 14 and under learning to skate. Must use skates provided. $3

Explore The Akron Children's Museum Pop-Up Site!

“We are experiencing an entirely new generation of art students and I wanted to be an integral part of that change and help the students feel the same spirit I felt here,” he says. Physical education teacher Mark Pantea has taught at the school for 17 years and has a daughter in sixth grade at Miller South. He brings a vivacious sense of humor to his classes and goes above and beyond to ensure his students are enjoying themselves while being active and creative.

incorporate all of their interest areas. I had them create logos once, and I have the eighth graders choreograph their own dance for their final project.” What does a typical day at Miller South look like? The morning begins with a daily congregation, and a few times per week there is a student performance. This could be anything from a student reciting a poem or something larger, such as a mini steel drum concert. The students have one class per day in their interest area, or the major art concentration they choose when auditioning for admittance to the school. This will last for 40 minutes, and they will take the class all year. The rest of the day is spent in academic classrooms, but this does not mean that their arts exposure goes away. All the teachers incorporate the arts in some way. They are also required to take 12 weeks of a second interest area in their second year. Over the five years the students are at the school, they are exposed to all interest areas in order to cultivate a better understanding of all art forms. Sharon says, “There are little discipline problems here because the students want to be here. Our attendance rate is at 97 percent.” After graduating Miller South, the majority of students attend Firestone High School’s International Baccalaureate program. The school holds an annual fair for eighth graders so they can see for themselves what options they have and make informed decisions. Miller South breaks many conventions of standard public schools, helping students develop to their artistic and academic potential. It’s no wonder so many past students come back to be part of the school’s future. // Mary Menzemer loves so much when sriracha covers her pizza that she gets on stage and sings about it.

“I try and play music that the students enjoy when they’re running at the beginning of class,” Pantea said. “I also design projects where they can

Presented by PNC Bank. For details go to

Vintage O’Neil’s Window Displays • Magical Train Santa’s Workshop • Crafty Mart Presents Cottage Mart • Breakfast with Santa Akron2Akron Holiday Walk • Jingle Bell Bash • Thirsty Dog Days • First Night Akron

Lock 3 also offers: • BIRTHDAY PARTY Packages • Private Rentals • Group Sales • Fundraising Check out our website for updated events and information or call us at 330-375-2877.


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16



Talking horses, enormous dolls, friendly giants and that special red-eyed 20-foot snowman ‘The Story of Archie the Snowman’ explores Akron’s borderline creepy holiday attractions by Noor Hindi • Photo courtesy of Joanna Wilson and

Whether we’re gazing at a 20-foot talking snowman or having a conversation with a giant Christmas tree, the holidays in Akron will never stop being weird. But we’re not complaining. Actually, thankfully Akron Empire co-founder and occasional TDS contributor Joanna Wilson has documented all of our borderline creepy decorations in her book “The Story of Archie the Snowman & Akron’s History of Christmas Attractions.” Not only does Wilson cover the birth of Archie, but we also learn about other strange, life-size attractions that amazed and terrified children for years. For example, there was Tom the Talking Horse, a nine-foot Raggedy Ann Doll and Ray, the Friendly Rolling Acres Giant. Wilson writes, “Archie the Snowman may have frightened his share of Akron’s youngsters, but O’Neil’s Raggedy Ann traumatized quite a few herself.” What follows is a photo of the nine foot Raggedy Ann, which is sure to make you laugh. Throughout the book, Wilson talks extensively about the competition between O’Neil’s and Polsky’s, as well as Rolling Acres Mall, Chapel Hill Mall, and Summit Mall, which inspired these outlandish Christmas decorations and window displays for years. Wilson’s sharp and oftentimes humorous account of Archie in the beginning of the book is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. It would also make a great gift for anyone who adored the character growing up, as well as anyone who was (understandably) terrified of him. Wilson herself admits to being hesitant of Archie as a child.

Through interviews and public records, Wilson crafts a holiday story that is unique to Akron. Many of the people interviewed and included in the book were individuals who dedicated hundreds of hours to building and renovating Archie. Such a person was Raul Umana, who insisted on changing Archie’s eyes to blue to make him less frightening, but Chapel Hill mall owner Richard Buchholzer wasn’t convinced. In the book, Umana comically states, “It’s not my fault. I wanted blue eyes! I swear to god, I wanted blue eyes! I even went to the point of taking a chance on losing my job over it.”

Check out for event information and to purchase the book.

Conversations such as these, as well as funny stories about the people who gave Archie his voice will make you nostalgic as it recount Akron’s rich holiday history.

Music Festival Checklist

Archie will be camped out at Chapel Hill Mall to entertain shoppers this holiday season. Wilson will also be showcasing her book throughout the season at many locations.

üBring Guitar üPack Camper Van üBring AAA Card

// Noor was once terrified of Archie as a child. But since his return to Chapel Hill Mall, she and Archie have resolved their differences.

Hit the Road & Rock on

“The mysterious voice from nowhere and the flashing red eyes scared me. I never did step up to the platform to speak with Archie, but I never forgot him either,” Wilson writes.


DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |



Join NEO Geo artist Kristina Paabus as she leads a tour of the museum’s collection, highlighting works that speak to her own artistic sensibility. Clockwise from top left: Gianna Commito, Court (detail), 2014; Erik Neff, Shoreline (detail), 2015; Natalie Lanese, Camofleur (detail), 2014; Paul O’Keeffe, a distant silence IV (detail), 2013; Amy Sinbondit, Section Break (detail), 2011; Kristina Paabus, 3h (detail), 2012; Janice Lessman-Moss, #446 (detail), 2015; Michelle Marie Murphy, Eyeshadow: Going Out ‘n Back Again (detail), 2012. NEO Geo is organized by the Akron Art Museum and generously supported by Myrna Berzon, Dianne and Herbert Newman, the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust and Harris Stanton Gallery. Media sponsorship is provided by WKSU 89.7 and Western Reserve PBS.

One South High | Akron, OH 44308 | 330.376.9185 |

cover story >>


FAMILY CHRISTMAS When being home for the holidays means working the bar The Ballad of Ray & Mario by Chris Horne


t’s Christmas. You’re still a kid. This is supposed to be your day. Maybe you got some new clothes, some new toys. You want to play. Enjoy yourself. Hang out with some friends, snack on candy canes or grab seconds from the family dinner. But if you were born into the bar business like these cousins, Ray Nemer and Mario Nemr, then Christmas is pretty much like every other day. You work. “When I was 14, that was my first night at the bar—Christmas night. It was the first time I went actually at night,” Mario says. “I was there for an hour and within that hour, I got into the biggest fight I've ever been in in my life. It wasn't like a


school fight where the principal is there to break it up. My dad was trying to kick somebody out for breaking something. Guy wouldn't leave. Typical story. Guy wouldn't leave, comes back, brings his friends. You've got this brawl. I got hired the next day and I was expected to be there every weekend night for the rest of my high school life.” That was an extension of the kind of childhood he and Ray had shadowing their fathers and mothers, who ran bars in Akron, Barberton and Ellet back when the rubber factories were still humming along well enough to keep dives open in the morning and stocked with drinkers coming in off

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


cover story the third shift. They’d ride around running errands with their dads, making deals and dealing with customers. “We didn't get to go anywhere,” Mario says. “If we went to an Indians game, a painter drove us. The janitor took us. Wasn't like we were part of some summer camp, Boy Scouts and shit like that.” Ray adds, “Our summer vacations were going to the bar.” Both sets of their parents—for Ray, Manny and Collette, and for Mario, Fred and Barb—came to Akron from Lebanon, which is bordered by Israel and Syria. So the work ethic they picked up was in reality a survival tactic for their first-generation immigrant families. Ray says, “It was about not letting someone else get one up on you. You've got to outwork the person next to you. That's how we were brought up. That's how our parents did it. They out-hustled and out-worked the next bar owner, or the owner of whatever business, because that's how they were going to make it.” He points behind the bar and says, “To this day, if I'm back there, or my dad's back there, you're trying to out-hustle the 22-year-old kid. My dad is 65 years old. My mom— she's outworking a kid half her age. That's just their mentality.” That hustle meant being willing to do what others wouldn’t, to go where they wouldn’t. If that means going to the “dingiest places” in Northeast Ohio for a deal, that’s what you do. If it means telling the Hell’s Angels to kick rocks, you do it. Just to get by. “They're survivors of a different time and place and generation. Ray and I were raised as if we were surviving something even though we were just regular kids. We didn't have to go that route, but I don't think our parents knew any other way to make sure we didn't turn out the wrong way.” Mario says, “What's probably not normal for most people is like perfectly normal in our family.” He remembers going with his dad and Manny to the kinds of places few Akronites even knew existed.

“We'd go to these dingy-ass places and I’d be like, ‘What the hell are we doing here?’ and (find out) we're going there just to buy straws or napkins or something. You'd ask and they'd say, ‘It's ten bucks cheaper.’ You learn the hustle from the time you're a kid.” He may have been 14—only or already, depending on your perspective—when he started working nights at Thursday’s, but Mario and Ray both were in the hard-knock school of the hustle earlier than that. No teacher, no books. Just figure it the fuck out. “Everything you did, you just learned on the fly. You know, they'd throw you in the fire and boom, go to work,” Ray says. “As a kid, without even knowing you learned it, you learned it. As a 10-year-old, you’re watching people make drinks, but all of a sudden when you got thrown into it, you're like, ‘Oh, I've seen this before.’” And they taught each other. Mario had watched his sister DJ for Thursday’s several times, picking up what he needed to do, which eventually came in handy after their regular Saturday guy quit on a whim. “I had a Chuck Taylor box of some CDs and some records, and that was it—you're hired.” That’s a tough way to grow up, and their parents were tough bosses to boot. So of course, they’d split that scene as soon as the opportunity arose, right? In their own ways, each tried. Mario went into sales. Ray worked in a bank. They both spent their days in an office. It wasn’t because they needed the money either. “Even when we had jobs, whatever time you're not at your job or at school, you're expected to be at the business, helping—and you're never doing anything right. It's not like our parents trusted us. We just got yelled at the whole time,” Mario says. Ray says, “I worked for a Fortune 500 company, in a bank, and it's the same for Mario—you worked in an office—one thing that made us what we are too is we had like three different schools of thought. You had what you learned in college, what you


Mario learned in the hustle school and what you learned in corporate America.” Fred got sick in 2000 and needed Barb to take care of him, so Mario picked up every shift he could until his dad passed away in 2004. Mario’s wife, Tiffany, who is sort of the “mini-HR/ fill-in-for-the-kitchen/make deliveries” for the business, says, “These guys would work at the bar—both of them—and we'd pass each other driving home and then they'd both wake up at 7 o' clock in the morning and go to work until 5 pm at their office jobs. Sometimes during lunch breaks he'd go set-up for bands and then go back to work and then come back at 6 pm to run the band.”

He and Tiffany have two young kids, and so there’s another generation coming up in what has become the family business. They follow their folks around, running errands and working with customers. “My son knows how to run the register,” Tiffany says. She adds that they spend a lot of time with Ray a couple doors up the block, too. “They want to play the bowling game,” he laughs. Then the other day, Ray witnessed a familiar sight. The kids were helping Mario and Tiffany set up for a band coming in later that night. “It was the cutest thing you'd ever see.”

So did Mario’s parents and Ray’s parents want them go into the bar business? “No, they didn't want us to do this,” Mario says. “I think Manny still thinks Ray is going to be a lawyer.” Laughing, Ray admits, “He still wants me to go to law school.” Eventually, they both gave in to what seems to be in their blood. Mario bought Matinee in 2006 and Ray bought the former Bucket Shop in 2007, turning it into Ray’s Pub. Even considering how much they knew about the business, the significant leg up they had going in, it was tough work. Not just because of the regular demands you might expect but also because… well, they had to hide their successes. “Basically had to give up the other life at the bank and concentrate on this. But you're still doing a juggling act because you're between here and your parents' place so you're trying to appease both crowds.”

Why did the Nemr/Nemer cross the road? Ray and Mario are on schedule to move their Highland Square businesses into new digs next Spring, relocating Capri, Matinee, Mr. Zub’s and Ray’s Place to the complex they’ve been building for the last couple of years. They have some big plans for each, but we’ll save that update for an issue when we get closer to the move. For now, they say they’re excited about the upgrade and think their customers will be too.

Huh? Mario says, “You don't want to tell your parents that you were busy the night before because they'll think we're actually competing with them. It's like in 'Goodfellas' when Ray Liotta is selling crack on the side and not cutting in the mob.”


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16



ap arnie’s public house

Photos courtes

y of West Point



“ doesn’t just involve us, it involves employees, customers and vendors, especially for a company that’s been in business 80 years. We realized we needed to change and it was a good time to segue into a new West Point, for us to look at it differently. Instead of just one location, build another location in Akron and outside of the city. This gives a great opportunity to do that. And we were also worried about the employees and their needs. We’ve cooperated with Mustard Seed Market and Acme for career paths in those two stores into making proposals with our employees. Goodwill Industries has helped with résumé building. We also gave our employees incentives to stay until December. We can’t do it without them, meaning 'you helped to make us, so please stay with us.' So I believe they’re comfortable with that now and the customers are too.” — Rick Vernon, CEO of West Point Market With the Fairlawn flagship location set to close, making way for a Whole Foods, CEO Rick Vernon reflected on West Point's 80-year history in an extensive interview with writer Christopher Morrison, which you can find online at with several photos from the store's storied evolution.


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


An Akron eatery nine years in the making opens downtown by Andrew Leask

When Mary Hospodarsky graduated from high school in 2001, she, like many of her classmates, wanted nothing more than to get out of Akron. “There wasn’t much going on downtown,” she recalls. “And everyone said, ‘We need to get out of here. There’s nothing to do.’”

That year, Hospodarsky left town to attend college. But when she returned to Akron two years later, she came to a realization. “It dawned on me that the reason there’s nothing down here is that people like me won’t take the initiative to bring something down here.” On December 1, Hospodarsky’s company, Sweet Mary’s Bakery, opened its first retail location at 76 East Mill Street in Greystone Hall across from the John S. Knight Center. Her business, like her food, was made from scratch. Though she has always loved to cook, Hospodarsky has no formal training as a baker. “Google and YouTube were my culinary school,” she says. “And my mom.” Indeed, she traces her passion for baking to her childhood. “We didn’t have a lot of money (continued on page 22)

Photos courtesy of Svetla Morrison


Akron’s Home of the All Day Breakfast featuring a Bloody Mary Menu, Mimosas and much more... 1688 W. Market St at Westgate Plaza in Akron 330-867-1114 Open 7 days a week 6:30am-3:00pm Sundays 8:00am-3:00pm


The Lady withthe Cupcakes and the Mixer that Changed her Life by Shelby Heitzenrater

After baking thousands of cupcakes Lori Campbell knows a thing or two about making the perfect batch, including what not to do. “Don’t ever put candy corn on buttercream,” she jokes. Why? Overnight they will melt, and by morning your well-crafted frosting will be a glop of festive mess. If you frequent Angel Falls in Highland Square, you know Lori’s delicious cupcakes. She’s been baking them for the small-town coffee shop for the past seven years. It all started when she made batches of 300 for charity bake sales at the nearby Walgreen’s. Lori had received a new mixer and was eager to break it in. “I realized I can make anything I want. It’s cool when you have a nice mixer. It changed my life.”


RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED FOR SEATING BUT ADVENTURESOME TASTE BUDS REQUIRED FOR DINING Glad I finally made it! (October 12, 2015 - OpenTable) "I had been hearing great things about Nuevo around town... ...The expansive menus offered something for everyone and what we received did not disappoint! We tried a 'middle-ofthe-road' tequila flight which was a great way to try several new flavors and then we each settled in to a drink that was more familiar but not what exists everywhere else. I would say that the food options were named traditionally, but allowed us to sample flavors not only from Mexico, but Spain, Central American, and South American countries as well. This place definitely added a flare to the typical 'Mexican' experience, and I will be sure to return!"

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

The word of Lori’s delicious creations quickly made its way down the street to owner of Angel Falls. During one of her daily stops for coffee, Lori was asked, “Do you make cupcakes? Do you want to make them for me?” She said yes, and the rest is sweet, sweet history. Lori finds baking to be relaxing and likes that she can use it as a creative outlet. Her recipes

are a contemplation of ideas. Sometimes she just experiments; other times she uses her huge collection of cookbooks, tweaking recipes to her liking, trying to make cupcakes out of desserts that have never seen the cupcake form. Her most popular cupcakes are chocolate cheesecake and the different variations of coffee cake. Her personal favorite? Key lime pie-flavored cupcake, with a twist. The traditional summer treat fares better in cooler temperatures, so she made it a winter staple — but with a summer theme. “I use cream cheese frosting and a graham cracker crust, and I put a little umbrella on it and — it looks like the beach.” She’s not usually into the flair — but, as most Ohioans know, a reminder of summer in the cold winter months is more than welcome. Lori isn’t surprised that desserts are a staple in the relaxing, sought-out vibe of a coffee shop. They remind people of home and childhood. “People think, ‘My grandma made that.’ When I make those pumpkin ones people say, ‘It’s like thanksgiving!’” “Hmmm,” she ponders, “I might make those tonight.”



The Wanderer Nepali Kitchen words and pictures by Holly Brown

Every so often I get an exclusive tip-off, a secret whispered hint from some blessed soul, from someone who knows not only of my love of fine foods, but also (perhaps more so) that I am, in fact, the Wanderer of this very column. These tidbits point me in new, uncertain directions, giving me an exclusive look at the deliciously rich underbelly that is the Akron culinary culture. Nepali Kitchen was something I heard about in passing conversation for months. Every couple of weeks or so, someone would ask me about Nepali Kitchen. Soon enough, I was lusting after this restaurant and the soon-to-be-had meal there. I named dropped the place in everyday conversation if only to feel closer to actually having gone. At the beginning of a particularly gloomy week in November at the onset of daylight savings time, I put my foot down. Nepali Kitchen had to happen and it had to happen now. I rallied my faithful troop—Ryan, my boyfriend/ roommate/fellow food adventurer and Maya, my friend/work-wife/guide to all things Akron—who were often in my company when asked about said restaurant. This dining experience felt like a mission, a call-to-arms, or forks as it were. I was fidgety on the drive over and couldn’t stop bouncing in my seat. The excitement was mounting. We were immediately greeted by the smell of rich spices. On a flatscreen at the back of the restaurant, a series of Nepalese music videos played. Perhaps it was the spices, or the fact that


each and every Nepalese song bounced with happiness, or perhaps it was the anticipation, but I was giddy the minute I sat down at Nepali Kitchen. But I could not, for the life of me, decide on anything. I clung to one remembered bit of advice to fish me from that ocean of uncertainty: get the mixed platter appetizer. We also ordered three lassis (two mango-, one strawberry-flavored drinks), which arrived in bright yellow-orange and pink, tasting like a yogurt-y smoothie—not too thick, not too rich and the perfect palate cleanser for what we were about to launch into. As if by magic, a basket of flaky, fried goodness appeared—and then disappeared almost as fast. We split everything three ways, not quite certain what anything was and not wanting anyone to miss out on something spectacular. There were four kinds of pakora, which are like fritters of various sizes: vegetable, onion, chicken and paneer, which is a kind of homemade cheese. The sampler also came with one vegetable samosa, a pastry stuffed with peas and potatoes. Though fried, each is light and crispy, instead of leaving you with that lead-in-the-stomach feeling common to other fried foods I love. Each filling had such a distinctly different texture and assortment of spices working within it that each fritter tasted immensely different from the ones before. There was no sogging-of-grease or masking-with-batter taste. Rather, the fried crust seemed to heighten what was contained within. While dividing samples (continued on page 22)



(continued from page 19) growing up. So for Christmas, a lot of extended family—aunts and uncles—they would get Christmas cookies.”





Hospodarsky estimates that she, together with her mother and two sisters, would bake more than a thousand frosted sugar cookies every Christmas. Hospodarsky developed a keen business sense at a young age. By the time she was 10, she was selling homemade cookies from a stand in front of her house. “I figured out around that age, too, that if I used coupons, I could buy popsicles and ice cream sandwiches at Marc’s, and then I could sell them for twice what I paid for them and they would still be less than what the popsicle man was selling them for,” she says. That enterprising spirit, combined with her talent in the kitchen, has served Hospodarsky well. In 2006, she started Sweet Mary’s Bakery, Ltd. For the past nine years, she has diligently built her business, selling freshly made baked goods to appreciative Akronites. This year, Sweet Mary’s Bakery was voted into the top five on the Akron-Canton Hotlist for best wedding cakes.

baked goods. Most importantly, Hospodarsky is devoted to ensuring the quality of the food she makes. “I want there to be that hands-on experience,” she says, “because that’s where I feel the quality comes from: the attention to detail and the personal care.” She, along with a small staff that includes her mother, works in the bakery every day. “When people get things here, they’ll know that we’ve made it. We started with flour and sugar and butter, and we made it into that. Fresh. ...My religion is baking from scratch, and there’s a purity to it that’s really refreshing and satisfying.” // Andrew Leask, a recent newcomer to Akron, grew 330.376.9550

778 North Main Street Akron, Ohio 44310

Also visit us at The Office Bistro & Bar - 1846 Front St. Cuyahoga Falls, OH

This month, after a couple false starts, Sweet Mary’s finally has a retail storefront. Open from 7 am to 2 pm on most days, the bakery serves cookies, cakes, pies and other baked goods, including “sammiches,” portable meals made by baking sandwich fillings inside Sweet Mary’s dinner roll dough. As a native Akron business owner, Hospodarsky is committed to supporting other local businesses. Sweet Mary’s Bakery sells Akron Honey, coffee from Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, drinks from NORKA and focuses on using locally-sourced ingredients in its (continued from page 21) and passing them across plates, we lost track of which pastry was filled with what. I was unable to predict what was to come and had to rely on my senses of taste and smell to teach me what lay inside, which was a great experience. The time had finally come for a decision. Though I am always allowed and encouraged to share food with my cohorts, I place a lot of pressure on my own meal choice, and this was perhaps the most pressure I had felt in a while to choose carefully. I finally settled on lamb curry while also getting an order of Bhatura (crispy layered fried bread) for the table. Spoiler alert: I could have eaten that whole basket by myself.

up in tropical Bayamón, Puerto Rico. He awaits his first Northeast Ohio winter with growing unease.

76 E. Mill Street, Akron Open: M-F 7 am to 2 pm; SAT 10 am to 3 pm My curry arrived alongside mutton chow mien (noodles, veggies, spices, and savory sauce) and chicken matar (curry with peas). My nose tingled when I inhaled. I could feel the layering of spices, the spiciness of the food. When I took that first bite, I was flooded with such earthy flavor. The curry was spicy but grounded, the temperature served to make the flavor more intense rather than mask it. It tasted real, like it was carefully crafted with consideration on every ingredient. The rice was thinner, more al-dente than the sticky rices of my past, and balanced the thick sauce and the rich lamb perfectly. When my fullness forced me to bring home leftovers, they were so good I ate them cold, right out of the styrofoam carton, because I literally couldn’t wait to head them up. I think it’s safe to say Misson: Nepali Kitchen was a rousing success.

Nepali Kitchen 399 Cuyahoga Falls Ave Akron, Ohio Monday - Closed Sun/Tues-Thurs: 11am-9pm Fri-Sat: 11am-9:30pm Previous page: mixed platter flanked by lassis; pictured left curry two ways and chow mien // Holly Brown loves writing, mostly poems and about food. Maybe she should write more poems about food.


community and culture


A Holiday Heist of Feast and Film Kevin Spacey and Denis Leary in an unusual Christmas movie by Chris Kessinger, The Film Freak (

THE FILM: “The Ref” (1994) Everyone has their own choices that they watch every holiday season. For me, the one that always puts me in a joyous mood is the one that exploits the real negatives of Christmas, "The Ref." Directed by Ted Demme (“That Thing You Do”), “The Ref” is a dark comedy starring Denis Leary as cat burglar Gus. On the heels of an already bad break-in on Christmas Eve, Gus finds himself caught in the middle of bickering by married couple Caroline and Lloyd (Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey), who are on the brink of divorce. What follows is a cynical, yet viciously funny anti-holiday film that will offer a reflection on tired traditional families. There is so much to be commended about Demme's portrait of an American family. Everything feels authentically rich and original in tone for the genre decades before films like these were released annually. Despite a hardened criminal in Gus, Leary’s brilliant comedic timing and quickwitted dialogue makes him the unexpected main protagonist in this slapstick film. (Think if "Home

Alone" grew up to be a home invasion/kidnapping story, but still held on to it's childish tone.) It might be tough for many people to classify this as a Christmas film, but the homages to the holiday film pantheon is certainly there, most notably as "It's A Wonderful Life" shows on the TV throughout the film, giving it a kind of soft-hearted domesticity underneath its superficially shallow humor. The stellar work of the ensemble cast of Hollywood veterans will leave you gut-busting with laughter in your seat. A young Spacey commands attention with his soft-to-loud anger growing louder and louder with each scene. The chemistry between he and Davis makes the audience root for their reconciliation despite how tired we grow of their bickering. The awkward laughs get raised a notch when 71-year-old Glynis Johns joins the fun as Spacey's rudely overbearing mother. There's a real rivalry between her and Davis, and it supplies a lot of the honest tension of family gatherings with one-up responses that will put your jaw on the floor.

THE FEAST: Shogun Japanese Steakhouse Need a cure from the harsh and unforgiving winter weather of Akron? (Albeit less harsh and unforgiving than most winters thus far.) Warm up by the fire as you enjoy the Asian cuisine at Shogun Steakhouse in the ever-developing area of South Akron. This one-of-a-kind dining experience will tingle your taste buds with delight while offering a cooking presentation unmatched by most. The restaurant offers everything from filet mignon steaks to chicken and shrimp combos to a wide variety of house sushis that will have you planning future trips to taste the many fresh flavors. Shogun’s well-stocked bar houses some of the best in domestic and imported tastes.

Shogun is open for lunch or dinner, but the hours are different for each day. Be sure to plan ahead.

Shogun Japanese Steakhouse 2863 South Arlington Road Akron, Ohio, 44312 330-645-9000 You can find more of The Film Freak's reviews at

Film Freak recommends: I can safely say all of my readers must try the Steak and Shrimp Combo. It's the perfect combination of surf and turf, made even more irresistible by the hearty portions. I was also treated to a side helping of scallops, in which my butter drizzled down the sensuous texture of some of the best shellfish I've ever tried.

‘ROOM’ IN THE RUBBER CITY Shot in Canada, critically acclaimed film subtly set in Akron What makes this movie worth seeing isn’t the location. In fact, Akron has been unusually cast It’s a little weird ‘Room’ hasn’t played in Akron as the setting. It’s unusual because the book, yet. After all, it was set here. whose author Emma Donoghue also penned the screenplay, doesn’t name a location and the The movie, adapted from an acclaimed novel of way it plays out, there’s no real reason to name it the same name, won the audience award at the Akron in the film either. And yet, the filmmakers Toronto Film Festival, not far from where it was seemingly went out of their way to do so, even if shot, and is already playing in Cleveland but won’t only subtly. There’s no explanation for why Akron, screen in Akron until it opens December 11 at inside or outside of the movie. The Nightlight. Though the police cars don’t resemble our own, Like the novel, the movie tells the story through each has “Akron Metro Police” on the sides. the perspective of Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who is Other cars carry Ohio tags, and it’s gray enough to just turning five, having never left the inside of feel like NEO, even without identifiable markers. a small shed where his mother, Ma (Brie Larson), But then there are the beams coming through the has been held captive for seven years. He doesn’t skylight in the titular room. Set designers told the realize he’s been held captive, nor that there’s New York Times they used computer modeling to a world outside those walls. Still, he becomes get the right direction of the light for a northresponsible for securing their freedom in a facing building in Akron at certain points in harrowing escape sequence. the day.


All that work and it might as well have been Acorn, Ohio, which isn’t a problem if you like good films. The location is no more than a curiosity for those who recognize what it’s supposed to be. Here’s what our resident movie critic, Chris Kessinger, wrote about “Room,” which he gave a 10 (out of a possible 10). His full review can be read at

about for the first time. It makes for some of the very best moments of a two-hour thoughtprovoker. ...One thing that greatly pleased me was how this film didn’t fall into the clutches of a made for Lifetime Television movie. Ma finds out quickly that even though the two have left the room physically, they may never leave the room psychologically.”

“Larson gives the performance of her young career, and this movie showed a side dramatically of her that I’ve never seen before. The relationship between Larson and Tremblay feels natural in its simplicity, but made complex in in the many layers of a story peeled back slowly one layer at a time. ...While this isn’t Tremblay’s first feature film, this is quite the coming out party for the boy wonder... It’s quite spellbinding to see [Jack] discover things that he hasn’t even dreamed

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


Music and entertainment >>

Photos courtesy of Paul Hoffman

WHISKEY • GIN • LIMONCELLO • GRAPPA 915 Home Ave., Akron • 330-633-7223 Open: Monday- Friday 10 am - 7 pm; Saturday 10 am - 5 pm


7 C 9 A D F L E O

Singing for the cruelest teacher How a brutal, traumatic stretch in his life led Michael Black to the stage by Brittany Nader

Two days after Christmas in 2013, Michael Black was in tears on a hospital bed at Akron General, where he also worked. His head had been cut open to surgically remove a tumor the size of a ping pong ball from his right temporal lobe. Things in his life actually got worse after that.

Voted #1 Best Irish Pub

Thursday, Dec. 31 • Celtic New Years Eve

with Akron Ceili Band (9 pm) Scottish Airing at midnight, Pork & Sauerkraut Dinner at midnight Visit for more December events

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


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16

One month after Black successfully underwent surgery, his best friend died from a heroin overdose. Around that time, after being together for eight years, he and his daughter’s mother parted ways. Black still bears the scars of his experiences – one running vividly alongside his head as a result of his brain surgery – but he’s inspired by them, not defeated. A spirited and intuitive individual, he used this dark chapter in his life as inspiration for creating something new. After moving out of the home he and his partner shared, he began channeling these moments in his life – his hurt, his strength and resilience – into music. “I never learned to play instruments or really read music, but I sang in chamber choirs,”

Black says. “I knew I had the vocal talent, but I was still learning.” By some twist of fate, Black ran into a producer during his shift at Akron General when the beatmaker heard him belting out tunes throughout the hospital. The two got in touch and soon were building a catalog of songs inspired equally by Black’s heartache and his fortitude. Thinking about overarching concepts that had defined a significant part of his life – pain, agony, trust, desire, fantasy, fighting, connection – he put pen to paper, crafting a five-song EP titled “The Succession.” It takes the listener on a journey through a connection between two individuals, echoing the stages of Black’s former relationship. There are songs about lust and seduction, followed by more serious tunes that embody the feelings of settling down and planning a future. Then, heartbreaking tracks that capture the moments when it all falls apart. “’Shame On You’ is about coming back from the dead, still being hurt by it, still having that (continued on page 27)


community and culture

Heavy Instruments and Rare Grooves The hidden history of Akron’s Soul Toronadoes by DJ El-Prezidente, as told to Roger Riddle

the band's name with no compensation to him or his fellow band members. When I finally got Heller on the phone, the story of these unsung Akron musical heroes began to unfold. Then one day I found myself sitting with three of the members of the band and listening to their story first hand.

If you do a Google search for “Hammond B-3 funk,” nestled among the names of the great jazz artists and groups known for playing the heavy instruments — in both weight and sound — you will find mentions of Akron's Soul Toronadoes. The band released a string of 7-inch singles during the ‘70s that went overlooked at the time by record buyers but have since captured the attention of today's rare groove collectors. I am one of those collectors. Always on the hunt for something out of the ordinary to play when I DJ, I happened upon one of those singles. Scanning the label, I noticed the address listed for the record company was nearby in Ohio. Then I began searching for a contact to see if there were any other records they may have had. That search led me right Wine Bar - in homage to this little known back to Akron. funk outfit. Then one day, I caught up with the band thanks to YouTube. When I realized the band I had run across was based out of Akron, I originally named my funk and soul DJ night, “the Mighty Soul The band’s leader, Bobby Heller, was posting videos and commenting on posts that Toronadoes Night” - now called the Mighty Soul Night, a monthly event held at Uncorked featured the band’s songs. Because my night

Photo courtesy of Paul Hoffman

was called the Mighty Soul Toronadoes Night, Heller thought I was in a band that was illegally using their name and playing their music. When I explained that I was just DJing and playing their records, Heller noted that recently people had begun to sample their work, cover their songs and even use

“And that changed me forever because his band was off the hook,” Bobby says. (continued on page 28)


Akron's Hottest Showplace! Concert Series

Tangier the

DECEMBER 18 - 20

During the ‘70s, the band was comprised of Bobby Heller on organ, his brother Charles Heller on drums, Bruce Martin on bass and James “Boots” Smith on guitar. However, their introduction to the music business came during the early ‘60s when the Heller brothers took the stage at Akron's night clubs as a dance duo while still in their pre-teens. Booked as the “Twisting Twins” — even though the brothers were not actually twins — Charles Heller became known for a dance style that rivaled the moves of his idol James Brown. In 1962, the brothers got a chance to see Brown live.

Peter Noone's "An Olde English Christmas" with Herman's Hermits



New Year's Eve Dance Party

with Akron's retro 80's funk band, "Get On Up" Deluxe Bar from 8pm to midnight Appetizer buffet from 8pm to 10pm Music from 9pm to 1am With a champagne toast, balloon drop, hats, noisemakers and much more Call 330-376-7171 for Details

Smooth jazz artist, Maysa and her Jazz Funk Orchestra

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2016 Jazz saxophonist Gerald Albright, a romantic Valentine's weekend treat. Call to find out about the Sweetheart Special


DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


music and entertainment

Saturday, 12/5 • 9pm – Midnight AKJ Jazz Trio – Jazz Sunday, 12/6 • 12-4pm DJ Ben Fulkman – Funky, Soulful Beats Friday, 12/11 • 9pm – Midnight The Night Travelers – Virtuoso Banjo & Stand up Bass Saturday, 12/12 • 9pm – Midnight Sausalito – Jazz/ R&B Band with Vocals

Friday, 12/18 • 9pm – Midnight DJ Naeno – Electronic Dance Party! Saturday, 12/19 • 9pm – Midnight The Frankie Starr Band – Blues Sunday, 12/20 • 12 – 4pm DJ Ben Fulkman – Funky, Soulful Beats Saturday, 12/26 • 8:30 – 11:30pm Jazz Shepherds – Christmas Jazz Music Sunday, 12/27 • 1 – 4pm Boy=Girl – Americana

Sunday, 12/13 • 12 – 3pm Wood Choppers Ball musicians – World-Class Guitar!

erts *All conc EE! R ARE F

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

Blazing trails with John Dante and The Inferno by Brittany Nader Stepping into one of John Dante’s rock shows is like walking into a psychedelic inferno where the band’s frontman could shape shift at any moment. One may expect to see a cosmonaut descending from a faraway galaxy, and instead be greeted with a Funky Frankenstein character, or a kinky ape, or perhaps Beat Farm Bob, the operator of a deep space farm, mining “backing music for the boring and oppressive Electronic Music Federation.” As a self-proclaimed inter-dimensional traveler, many personalities live in Dante’s head, liberating human consciousness with otherworldly grooves. Dante has taken his bandmates on adventures spanning through time and space, his companions evolving over the years since the musical group’s inception around the year 2008. What began as a blues-based jam band has grown into a multiheaded beast, something indefinable but always of the utmost intrigue. Dante’s musical upbringing could be considered fairly normal, the lifelong guitarist picking up saxophone and piano early on, while engaging in extracurricular activities, like choir, in middle school. Deciding guitar was a “cooler” hobby to get into by his late teens, he plucked around on the axe with his father, following along to his melodies and leads. Years passed and brought the sonic traveler around Akron where he could showcase his skills and formal training on stages like the infamous Vortex. It was here that Dante waxes poetic about drunken nights spent amidst the outdated décor of the venue, tucked in between porno shops and strip clubs where a myriad of characters was sure to stumble through and, perhaps, inspire some of the inventive and eccentric personalities he adopts on stage.

The seasons they are a'changin' so come to the pub to watch the Cavs and enjoy one of our ice cold beers.


Musically, Dante’s sound is influenced by the heavy, progressive sounds he’s loved for years, with sprinklings of horror and sci-fi movies, deep fantasy worlds, and even love, woven in. Anything that is engrossing and beautiful, he says, can have a hand in the type of art he creates. Pushing the limits of the viewer and listener has always intrigued him, encouraging him to think beyond the boundaries of what is possible. His music, he says, is like a rollercoaster, the excitement building with each slow uphill click, then taking the audience completely of the rails once

they’ve reached the top. The listener feels as though they have been shot into outer space before descending back into an uncertain safety. “Then it drops you back off where you started, and you are left back on earth, like, wondering how you got there,” Dante says. “The live show is very intense, and at any moment it can get really heavy or really funky.” Photo courtesy of Shane Wynn

Multiple lineups have made up the force that is John Dante and The Inferno, and the front man says he’s always searching for likeminded musicians who share the same goals and can push the project into new directions. He hopes to expand the scifi-meets-horror concept and craft additional tunes that incorporate these genres, as well as introduce film to the project that will help The Inferno tell the story visually as well. Dante and his companions recorded a self-titled album this year and are in the stages of finalizing several big shows in the Akron area. The year 2016 will bring new adventures in our own backyard and through many metaphorical galaxies and alternate planes depending on where the music takes us. Dante stresses that, while conceptual in some ways, he and his band dedicate their energy to delivering an honest, original and raw performance every night they hit the stage. “I think rock ‘n’ roll should be a little dangerous and make your palms sweat and your hair stand on end,” he says. “We are really injecting some of that fun, exciting energy back into the scene, and people really dig it. John Dante and The Inferno “keeps the mothership active” at and JohnDanteAndTheInferno. The group’s spooky, spacey tunes can also be heard at Soundcloud. com/John-Dante.


Friday, 12/4 • 9 – Midnight Local Music – TBA!


y of Brittany Na

Live Music Schedule

Photo courtes



music and entertainment (continued from page 24)

coffee, looking to make the kind of music that can make me cry.”

self-destructive behavior,” Black says. “But you’re moving on and you’re out doing things. You’re not sobbing on the ground. You’re moving on.”

Being in the studio and putting these words and melodies to a beat was a very different experience from singing songs at work It’s been two years since or late nights at home. Black’s brain surgery, the Progressing from a live loss of his relationship and performer into a studio the passing of his friend. setting was frustrating, He says those experiences he says, but an incredible were a huge turning point, learning experience. He and his new collection of used Soundcloud to record songs will show his growth and track his growth as not only as an artist, but as a studio singer, evolving a human being. On Dec. to make his voice and 27, the anniversary of his words more about feeling surgery, Black will release than forcing a barrage of “The Succession” for free. notes into the listener’s The recording, he says, ear. The EP will feature shows how his songwriting a more diverse range of has changed over the instrumentation, and each - Unknown last year or so, as he has song evokes a different become more attuned to tone or idea than the listening to the melodic intricacies of artists like The others. Yet, they are connected by the connective Weeknd, Miguel and doo-wop greats. themes that defined those intense four months of Black’s life and where he is today. “I’m exploring new ways to use the lyrics I’ve written,” he says. “I’ll change words that don’t “Dec. 27 is like my birthday,” Black says. “Life is stab you hard enough in the heart. I’d catch myself like... my life before and after the surgery. That writing from 9 pm to 6 am with a cup of was a huge turning point. What I’m experiencing now is a whirlwind, a new way of life, writing and being a father.”

“Experience is the cruelest teacher. It gives the test, and then it gives the lesson.”

After the release of “The Succession,” Black says he plans to drop a mixtape and full-length album next year featuring collaborations with several local rappers. Until then, the EP is like an aural diary drawing listeners into the darkest, most intimate and infinitely triumphant moments in this musician’s life. A sneak peek of Black’s new music can be heard on his Instagram page, @mblack330, and both physical and digital copies of the EP will be available to listeners on that pivotal day, Dec. 27.


In the Crowd

Getting to know Scottish singer-songwriter Natalie Clark, who recently performed at Akron Civic Theatre by MacKenzie Mehrl

Natalie Clark, a Scottish singer-songwriter full of laughter and light, recently moved to the U.S. to pursue her new career as an artist. During the first few months of following her dream in London, she was running low on money and worse, on determination. That’s when she found herself back in Glasgow at an industry session with Virgin Records founder Richard Branson and BBC/Radio 1 show host Nick Grimshaw where she had an encounter that would change her career. During the Q&A, Clark was chosen to ask Branson a question. She wanted to know if he ever felt fear when beginning a new project. If a man like Branson felt fear, she reasoned, Clark could feel more at ease about her own worries. He turned the question around on her and invited her up on stage, which led to an impromptu performance of her song “Weakness.” That experience gave Clark a sense of newfound

confidence, which helped her make the leap and move to Los Angeles. Since then, she has toured the U.S. for the past year and released an EP, “Eagles,” available now to the public. Currently, she’s opening for Indigo Girls on their current tour. When the band played at the Akron Civic Theatre, Clark even came out and joined Indigo Girls during their performance that evening and sang her song “Weakness.” The ambiance of the room was warm and comforting, like sitting around a campfire at a lodge party with your closest friends. With a soulful voice and strong vibrato, Clark’s unique sound makes you stop in your tracks. Her self-written songs are full of uplifting and positive themes, which instantly connect with the listener. Accordingly, he crowd’s reaction to Clark was incredible to witness. Natalie Clark’s music is available on iTunes or through her website

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


music & entertainment (continued from page 25) The brothers became serious about playing music as opposed to just dancing to it. They wanted to form a band, and they wanted to own everything they saw on stage. Charles had his eye on the Ludwig drum set played by Brown's drummer. Bobby wanted the B-3 Hammond organ.

On the Record

Johnny and The Apple Stompers Debut New EP, ‘Far From The Tree’ By Brittany Nader Over the past five years, Johnny and the Apple Stompers have established themselves as local favorites, marrying honkytonk, country and bluegrass with old-time blues and jazz, the result of which sends listeners back in time while reflecting enduring themes of heartache, loneliness, drunkenness and rambling through the countryside. Back with their first recording since 2013’s “Prison Bound,” local musicians present their unique style of hillbilly music from the heartland to the Northeast Ohio community. The band will debut its latest EP, “Far From The Tree,” Nov. 27 at a special event taking place at Stone Tavern in Kent. The free Black Friday celebration will include live performances from Shady Daze and Ohio Joe and the Continental Drifters, in addition to a screening of the film “Happy Hour Holocaust.” Copies of the EP will be available for purchase at the event, beginning at 9 p.m. Formed in 2010 as a skiffle band playing on the streets in Akron, Kent and Cuyahoga Falls, the Apple Stompers have evolved their sound though years of playing at bars, weddings, festivals, retirement homes and flea markets. This past year, the musicians have shared the stage at Akron hotspots like Annabell’s and Musica with celebrated acts like Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and The Legendary Shack Shakers. Led by Northeast Ohio locals Johnny Miller and Cory Grinder, the band is a tribute to classic country influences like Hank Williams, Roger Miller and Willie Nelson. Miller’s inspired and original songwriting, bright acoustic picking and lonesome voice are paired with Grinder’s high harmonies and skilled fiddle playing. With the addition of members from brother bands Rodney and the Regulars (Rodney Dewalt, Stephen Karney and Richard DeWalt) and Fast Molasses (Jason Willis, Shawn Wee and Steve Gill), pedal steel, upright bass, banjos and more flesh out the sound, resulting in a versatile, multifaceted live experience.


“I already had an organ, a Thomas organ,” Bobby remembers. “When I went down there and saw James Brown, he had a B3 Hammond. I went home talking about that. 'I want me a B3!'” The hunt for the Hammond organ led them to Reynolds’ Music Shop in Akron. Bobby's mom, Lulune Heller, who played an intricate part in the development of the band by taking on the role of manager, spoke with owner Frankie Reynolds about acquiring a B3 for her son. When he remarked that he had just the organ for them, Lulune flatly stated that she didn't want a new organ. She was in the market for a used one. Reynolds led them to a back room and showed them an organ previously owned by jazz great Jimmy McGriff. McGriff dropped off his organ for an overhaul and decided to buy a new model while it was being serviced. Reynolds tuned up his old organ, and now it was for sale. Bobby now had the instrument that would help shape the sound of the band, and it was blessed by one of the founders of the style. From the mid to late ‘60s, Bobby recruited Bruce Martin on bass and Boots Smith on guitar. Heller credits Martin's creativity on bass as being the foundation of their style. And with the addition of Boots Smith, who was steeped in the blues and played guitar and harmonica, the group was solidified. While playing a show in Detroit in the early ‘70s, they met Ernest Burt who owned a small independent record label, Magic City/ Burt Records. With Heller's mother in the role of the band's manager, they signed a recording contract with Burt and began recording. They recorded a total of six tracks that were released on three singles. Of the three singles, one was released on Magic City, another was released on the subsidiary label, Burt Records, but unbeknownst to them, Burt sold the rights to the third single to a different record label, Westwood. This was the first sign of trouble between them and their record label. This rocky relationship would cast a shadow over their entire career.

singer in the audience could sit in for a song. After agreeing, they were joined on stage by Cuba Gooding, Sr. of The Main Ingredient. During a show in Chattanooga, Tenn., bass player Bruce Martin fell ill and had to return to Akron. That night, Lucky Scott — who played bass with Curtis Mayfield — sat in for the evening. When the band played one of Mayfield's songs, Scott tried to persuade Boots to join Mayfield on tour. Boots decided he couldn't leave the band and pointed to their contract with Burt Records.

bands and re-releasing them with great treatment and respect for the artists. That box set, “Soul Toronados (sic) – the Complete Recordings,” was released in 2005. The set gained little to no press even though it sold out and is now as collectible as the original singles.

The lack of attention over the box set seemed to be right in line with all that the band had experienced in their career. However, when I showed Heller a video of people dancing to the Soul Toronadoes music at the Mighty Soul Night—and with word that they have a cult following in the UK—a new excitement has While the members of some of the best soul and funk bands in the nation loved the sound begun to bubble. of the Soul Toronadoes, their singles never Akron could be the first to see these unsung caught on. Part of this was most likely due local music heroes return to the spotlight. to the rights being sold to different small The city is experiencing a bit of a renaissance labels that didn't have enough recognition in music with clubs like Blu Jazz and Pub in the industry to get them the attention Bricco showing there is a market here for they deserved. Another factor was that the these types of sounds. Also, as new bands times were changing, and it was hard for an blaze new trails, Akron continues to have a instrumental band to make its mark when strong sense and respect for their artists of most of the up-and-coming bands now the past. featured a lead vocalist. When their four-year contract was up with Burt Records, Burt exercised an overlooked clause to pick up an additional four-year option with the band. This was essentially the undoing of the band. They went their separate ways shortly thereafter. Boots went on to work in the rubber industry for 11 years. Martin is now playing bass in a gospel band. Charles Heller now resides in California and is involved in the Christian ministry. Bobby Heller is still here in Akron, and he's anxious to play again. Over the time that has passed, the members have never seen any royalties from their records. The Burt Records catalog is now owned by Ernest Burt's son, however there is very little information on where the younger Burt is operating the business. He is still active, as some of the songs have been licensed from the Magic City catalog. One in particular affected the Soul Toronadoes. When Jazzman Gerald of Jazzman Records came to town in the early 2000s to get the band's story for a box set his label was releasing, Bobby thought maybe Soul Toronadoes’ chance at a revival was near. The Jazzman record label out of the United Kingdom is known among record collectors as one of the best at finding extremely rare

Maybe it is time to add the Soul Toronadoes to that list of celebrated artists. // El-Prezidente is the host 88.7 WJCU’s “Soul Elixer” radio show. Roger Riddle is a record collector, DJ, and the Chief Curator for Unbox Akron.

To experience El-Prez in his element, check out


Uncorked on

December 19

beginning at 8 pm with Forrest Getem Gump and Ben Crazy too.

While their songs were being sold to other labels for release, the band began touring the south, winning the admiration of many of the other artists they were playing alongside. They were joined on stage by soul legend Wilson Pickett's horn section when the band broke into a cover of Pickett's “Funky Broadway.” One night they were approached by an employee at a club they were playing and asked if a

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16


culture club >>

new / native

From down in the Valley to the University of Akron collected by Elizabeth Tyran


students graduate and settle into their jobs here it’s going to grow things. I think Akron will continue growing both in the number of students and the number of people who work here. What do you think would be great about raising kids in Akron? Diversity is a beautiful thing and growing up in Akron would help teach them that I think. The local parks would allow them to appreciate both nature and the architecture set within nature here.

to Chicago for a couple years and moved back when I was twenty-one and that’s when I realized that ya, Akron is a good place to live. Where in Akron do you like to escape? Sand Run Park Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant? Because the owners are really Greek and it’s really authentic Greek food. It’s Vasili’s down in the valley.

Name: Josh Gardy, 22 Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz. Neighborhood: UA Campus Resident Occupation: Student, studying engineering & part-time valet

What local holiday event(s) do you look forward to attending? I really enjoy the ice skating at Lock 3. Christmas is my favorite time of year and it’s great to get out and see all the decorations around downtown.

How do you think Akron will be different in five years? I hope there will be more downtown living, more small businesses and more restaurants with healthy options. That’s really what I want to see.

Who do you wish was on more Akronites’ radar? Why? Dr. Bob in the sense that through AA he has brought many people out of the dark. He was a big name a while ago I think but it seems he only comes up now around Founders Day and I think with the impact he’s had on people’s lives he should be talked about and credited more often here in Akron. His program helped both of my parents achieve sobriety. Their disease impacted their lives so negatively so I’m grateful that thanks to that program I did have two sober parents growing up.

Does your job allow you to feel connected to Akron in any special way? Absolutely. I valet for Crave and 3 Point as well as Dante Boccuzzi’s. It allows me to see the Artwalk, it’s helped me get acquainted with some of the small businesses and get to know the different business owners and employees really well, it’s expanded my view on the people of Akron and shown me what’s out there.

What would you change about raising kids in Akron? I wish there were more networks for parents with small children and common interests. I wish there were more groups like that. We have a community through our school, Spring Garden, but it’s private and I pay for it and not everybody has that opportunity.

What is your favorite local cultural asset? I think I would say E.J. Thomas. As a UA student I’ve seen it bring a lot of happiness and entertainment to Akron and it’s also brought people in from out of town. It’s a place to meet up with people for cool shows & great acts. It’s had an impact on me in that sense.

What local holiday event(s) do you look forward to attending? We like “The Nutcracker” at The Akron Civic and we like Tuba Christmas at E.J. Thomas. I don’t know if they’re doing it this year because of the changes at the university but that was always something we liked to do. How do you plan to play in the snow this winter and where? We will be sled riding at Cascade. We will be sled riding at Kendall Hills. We will be sled riding anywhere there’s a hill (laughing). And we’ll do ski club at Boston Mills and probably some ice skating at the Gorge Metropark. Favorite local place or event for holiday shopping? I’d have to say NOTO. It’s a women’s clothing boutique with all kinds of cute stuff. Where would you take family or friends from out of town to dinner? Our go-to is the Saffron Patch. I like to go and take people for some good Indian food in the valley.

How do you plan to play in the snow this winter and where? I’m a big fan of snow when I don’t have to drive in it. The great thing about snow is you can pretty much dive in and have fun wherever you see it. But I always look forward to snowboarding at Brandywine.


When did you fall for Akron? Since I came here a couple years ago I’ve seen that grit that everybody has here and you know, you work for everything here in Akron and I think that’s a beautiful thing. A lot of people lose sight of that through entitlement. And really in the last year I’ve seen some of the ins and outs of small businesses and really gotten to know people who live here and they have shown me that grit and hard work that Name: Carrie Burchett, 34 has brought the city back to what it is. Hometown: Akron Neighborhood: Merriman Valley Where in Akron do you like to escape? Occupation: Teacher at Spring Garden I like to go to the national parks and the gorge. Waldorf School Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant? I think Crave is awesome because you come in and you’re like what the heck, the menu is just a bunch of jumbled words when you first look at it, but they take your regular type of food or regular dishes and they throw their own “spice” into it. How do you think Akron will be different in five years? I think with the improvements already made to the University of Akron campus it’s going to bring more students in which will bring more traffic. As


Who do you wish was on more Akronites’ radar? Why? Rudolph Steiner, the impulse behind the Waldorf Schools and other things like biodynamic farming and gardening. What is your favorite local cultural asset? It’s a tie between the library and the Countryside Conservancy Farmers Market. When did you fall for Akron? Well, I was born and raised here—obviously because I’m your “native” (laughing)—but I moved

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


culture club

How Bazaar, How Bazaar The debut of the Akron Bazaar Night Market by Allie Angelo

Everyone was bundled in their warmest fall clothes, and some of the market-goers sipped small cups of hot chocolate purchased from one of the vendors, who lined the sides of the lot where the market was held. A stage was set up for karaoke, a harmonica player and a variety of popular music played by a DJ. That was the scene this October when a new openair night market debuted in North Hill’s historic Temple Square between the People’s Bank and another building on the corner of Cuyahoga Falls Avenue and North Main Street. The idea for Akron Bazaar was developed fairly late in the year by North Hill Community Leaders and some of the individuals behind this past May’s Better Block event. Even though the turnout was small, there was a unique mix of local vendors. Some were selling homemade goods and food while others sold art, decorations, customizable jewelry, and even cute toys and blankets. Not Yo’ Daddy’s, an Akron hot sauce company, was offering samples on tortilla chips. I bought two bottles of original, which have since ended up on eggs, sandwiches, stir fry and pasta. A few young locals were selling homegrown


fruits and vegetables as well as some homemade goods, such as laundry and hand soap from the Intergalactic Soap Co. and sweet hot chocolate from Rosey’s Refreshments. Of course, Stray Dog Café was also there serving their signature hot dogs, burgers, barbeque and a variety of sandwiches. The owners of Stray Dog Café are residents of the area and part of the North Hill Community Leaders. Their cart can be seen at many of North Hill’s events, including Akron Better Block. A few artists were selling original pieces, including Abstract.Nat, who sold prints, handmade bags, and scarves. While I probably own too many bags and scarves, I decided you can never have too much art, especially local art, and ended up leaving with one of her abstract prints. Another local artisan was selling handmade holiday décor in the form of jars and bottles decorated with colored glitter, fake snow, and plastic candles. A few even featured a winter scene, complete with a choppeddown Christmas tree tied to a car and a doe peeking through the trees. Two jewelry vendors, Keep Collections and Origami Owl, were offering customizable jewelry, watches, and charms while Premium designs had a variety of classic jewelry. In the midst of the awesome art, homemade goods, and unique local food, a group of Open

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16

M volunteers huddled under a tent, handing out pamphlets and spreading information about their amazing organization. Open M is a churchrun charity organization dedicated to helping residents of the Akron area who are in need. Their services range from hot meals and Christmas gifts for low-income families to health care and job placement programs. As Christmas approaches, the organization is getting ready for their annual Christmas for the Love of Children program, which provides food and gifts to over 800 children in the Akron area each year.

market back in the spring and turn it into a popular recurring event where local vendors can continue to share their goods with the residents of North Hill, bringing back a stronger sense of community and vitality to the Temple Square district. //BIO: Allie is a North Hill resident who loves sunshine, coffee, books, and vegan pizza. She has been writing since before she was old enough to drive and is currently employed as a copywriter.

Though the weather was harsh and many vendors packed up earlier than planned, North Hill’s first Akron Bazaar Night Market was a success. Local vendors were able to showcase their unique goods and products for Akron residents, giving us a taste of the great local food, products, art, and handcrafted items that you can find in North Akron. Akron Bazaar organizers hope to bring the night


culture club



Think of all of the places that come to mind when you read the words “rock climbing” and I bet Akron doesn’t rank. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that no place in Ohio is on your radar, but that won’t remain true for long.

Akron was home and would continue to house the creative process behind Rock Candy Holds. Nathan and Liz began to explore places where they could reignite the climbing community in Akron, and added fellow climber Mike Ochwat to their team.

Some years ago, Liz and Nathan Yokum were college kids who decided to build a rock climbing wall in their garage. Climbers can tell you that the wall isn’t usually the expensive part of that project. The expense comes in when you have to buy all of the hand and footholds that allow you to actually climb on that wall. The Yokums quickly realized this and Nathan, an art education major at the University of Akron, decided to try to make their own holds instead of buying them. Though they didn’t end up saving much money, the creativity of the process had them hooked and their company, Rock Candy Holds, was born.

Together with their partners, the Yokums have made another dream a reality, and they will open Rock Mill Climbing this January. The 12,000 square foot facility will have a state-of-the-art climbing area, a yoga studio with multiple classes daily and a general fitness room with weights and treadmills. Rock Candy Holds will also be headquartered there and Nathan and Liz will continue to work towards creating a climbing community in Akron through events and workshops that will be hosted at Rock Mill. But why Akron? Both Nathan and Liz say they wouldn’t think of taking Rock Mill anywhere else. They want to contribute to the recent resurgence of their city and hope to help stop the “brain drain” of students leaving by helping give the college demographic a community to which they can belong.

Rock Candy eventually expanded from its humble beginnings in the garage to a manufacturing space in Akron. Not all of the space was being used, so Nathan and Liz built another climbing wall. Nathan carved the designs for Rock Candy Holds, and then was able to experiment with the shape and form by letting climbers use them. What the Yokums built As Nathan points out, “We live, work, and play in as their test space quickly turned into a local co-op Akron—and we think Akron needs more PLAY.” for climbers. The co-op allowed them to develop their product, but also developed a community of If you agree, going by is a great way to show it. Akronites who shared their love of climbing. In 2010, Rock Candy had grown enough that the co-op had to be closed to use the space for the business. This was an especially tough choice for the Yokums, as they had come to love the community that had grown there. Thinking back on it Liz says, “We always knew we would bring back the space for climbers. We just didn’t know where or when.”

For more information:

After stabilizing the growth of the company, while also growing their family, it became clear that


DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


culture club

Stocking the Holiday Toy Room

How Summit Co. Children Services helps abused, neglected children during the holidays by Katie Jackson

Each December, as thousands of children in Summit County write out their wish lists to send to the North Pole, there are hundreds of children in our communities whose wish lists include something more than toys: safety, stability, family, a home. These are the children and families served by Summit County Children Services (SCCS). SCCS is an agency that provides services for abused and neglected children in our communities. In any given month over 585 children meet the criteria for agency intervention. Case workers partner with families to provide the best outcome for a child to be reunited with their immediate family or placed in kinship care with extended family members. When there are no relative placement options for a child, alternative housing in foster care or permanent custody through adoption is the next best substitute. While there are many ways SCCS works to create a sense of normalcy for children under its care, one way the community at-large can help them create positive memories is by donating to the Holiday Toy Room and Adopt-A-Family programs.

The Holiday Toy Room is a place for foster parents and kinship caregivers to “shop” for children in their care, free of charge. Donated toys and gifts are given a point value and sorted into age group by infant, school-age and teen. In addition to items that are “shopped” for, every child is given “zero point” items such as books, puzzles, school supplies and stocking stuffers. Over her 26 years at SCCS, community relations manager Sandy DeLuca has created a mission for the Holiday Toy Room program. “I want to ensure that every child has gifts under their tree on Christmas morning,” says DeLuca. “No child should ever wake up without anything underneath their tree.” DeLuca’s mission is making a difference. Last year over 1,300 children were recipients of gifts from the Holiday Toy Room, an increase of 23 percent from 2013. Items that are in the greatest need are toys for infants (birth to 18 months old) and teenage boys. Toys and games for popular movies such as “Star Wars,” “Minions,” “Frozen,” “Inside Out” and “Avengers” are also in high demand.

SCCS also seeks donors to participate in the AdoptA-Family program for the holiday season. Each year approximately 580 children are “adopted” by community groups, businesses and individuals, who are given a wish list of items that have been requested by a specific child in the program. Donors purchase and wrap the gifts, which are delivered personally to the children’s home by agency social workers. Because the holiday programs are completely donation-based and the need is ever growing, SCCS never knows ahead of time whether the demand for the season will be met. “For the past three years we have been very blessed with generous donors in our community,” says DeLuca. Donations can be dropped off seven days a week between 9 am - 8 pm through December 18 at the front desk of Summit County Children Services, located at 264 S. Arlington Street in Akron. Volunteers are also needed to sort donations and staff the Toy Room, which is open between December 2 - December 23.

Please contact Sandy DeLuca at sdeluca@ or 330-379-1994 for more information.

Donation needs: Infants & Toddlers Baby dolls (all ethnicities) Baby blocks Large size cars and trucks New stuffed animals Educational toys Infant care items Cloth or board books

School-Age Children Dolls (all ethnicities) Doll accessories Action figures Activity books Board games LEGOS sets Transformers Hand-held games Puzzles Craft kits Action figures

Tweens &Teens Brightly colored slippers Ear buds and flashdrives Headphones Speakers (to connect to phones) Electronics of any kind, under $25 (portable CD, DVD and MP3 players) Infinity scarves Sports jerseys (L & XL) Gift Cards (teen-favored stores, fast food restaurants)


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16


culture club


The Most Akron Kids I Know a poem by Elizabeth Tyran

A New Kind of Pop-Up Akron Children’s Museum brings interactive learning to Lock 3 by Daniel Whitaker While some waited in lines on Black Friday, the organizers of the Akron Children’s Museum opened their doors to the public for the very first time. Collaborating with the city of Akron and the Summit County Historical Society, ACM has transformed the former American Toy Marble Museum space at Lock 3 into an interactive familyminded, learning experience. This temporary “popup” site offers educational activities to children of all ages designed to teach life skills, science, music, art and more, all in a playful environment. The seed for the museum was planted in 2011 when Betsy and Ryan Hartschuh and their two children drove through North Carolina on their way home from a summer vacation when they visited the Greensboro Children’s Museum. They had a blast. “The place was bustling with young families,” Ryan Hartschuh says. The couple saw a lot of similarities between Greensboro and Akron. They believed a children’s museum would be great for Akron. So they got to work, laying the building blocks for a future site in Akron. Three years later, they have the pop-up site, a pilot run for what they hope to be a permanent installment in the future. Meanwhile, kids and families can still experience the marble exhibits from the American Toy Marble Museum and also get the chance to take part in activities that explore gravity, flight, art, building and other areas of learning. The pop-up site features activities such as a life size Lite-Brite, jumbo building blocks, a toddler section, a wind tube and a quake table where kids can construct model buildings and test how their designs hold up against environmental forces. Kids can experiment with the physics and participate


in Akron tradition at the DerbyTown exhibit. Every exhibit in the museum has an educational focus, but the lessons will be taught through play. “It’s the brain’s favorite way to learn,” said Hartschuh. The pop-up museum will be open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, from November 27 until February 15. Hours of operation are 11am 7pm Wednesday – Saturday and 11am – 5pm on Sunday. Admission is $3 and free for infants 12 months and younger. “Hands on Holidays: Expedition Frosty” is a fundraising event the group is hosting to benefit the pop-up and the future permanent museum. Families that purchase tickets will make crafts and explore activities similar to those found at the pop-up museum. Tickets may be purchased through the Akron Children’s Museum website at

When Charlotte was still very small Which is to say not very tall We’d take her to the nearest park Which had no trees adorned in bark Just grass extending soft & green To the best local mural til then I’d seen She’d waddle the yard and to the wall Where colorful characters large and small Looked at her and she at them Til a dandelion beckoned She pick its stem Still a babe and starting to talk We took her for another walk... Around the zoo, not far from here (to live downtown means things are near) She walked across the bridge of rope She pet the goats and washed with soap She seemed to like the llamas best And put her talking to the test when she called them... “mamas” When little Leo came along Charlotte looked at him all wrong Who is this and why’s he here My parents seem to love him dear Wherever they went Leo’d go Charlotte got used to a baby bro She’d hang with us, we’d bake, we’d play Color, watch movies, the day to day We lived next door so it worked well Friends and neighbors, all was swell We lived in an historic spot Right next door to their mom’s shop And every year she’d host a show Of fashion which each year would grow And each year Charlotte can be found Onstage, backstage, and all around

Now when we go to the zoo There are two Two kids on the carousal Woo 1 & Woo 2 Two kids plus their cousins For hikes at Sand Run Two kids to blast with a giant squirt gun Two kids to go the museum and play Inside and outside on a warm summer day They’ve even appeared in the museum’s ads Little Akronite cuties Their mom’s and their dad’s They play hide & seek in Musica When they visit us at work Or carve pumpkins in the cafe And get ice cream as a perk

As years went by they moved around The coolest spots all over town First downtown, then Northside The Square and the Valley But their first home still overlooks Musica’s alley For every birthday they still love to go To the Spaghetti Warehouse, wouldn’t you know It’s a tradition for them and their family you see With spaghetti & meatballs and instead of TV They have things on the walls, things up above Things all around as though placed there with love Quirky antiques with nods to this town, a train car, a ski lift that never comes down... You get the idea, it’s full of cool stuff But onward, cause sometimes enough is enough A couple years back we took Char to Lock 3 To ice skate with ice skates so small, so petite She stayed up quite well with us holding her hand Making sure if she slipped we would pre-vent a land Then we ate lunch at Bricco Where they have kids grilled cheese And some chopped fruit, a pickle, and milk if you please A few years ago, we sled Hawkins Hill We had cocoa up top To counter the chill Next to the big fire barrel they light Which glows and invites in the dark winter night Then to Luigi’s for WHITE pizza they said When I’d thought of Luigi’s I’d always thought red!

Last year I took Charlotte to the Civ-ic To see the Nutcracker & sit with Saint Nick We sat in the front And as Charlotte stared It was so cute to see just how much she cared And wanted a nutcracker of her very own So of course she got one from me to take home Charlotte and Leo, great kids all-around Products of Akron, a well-rounded town So just like these kids, enjoy all you see For each year in Akron is THE place to be. Happy holidays, everyone!

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |



HO, ho, ho! Pee, poo, poo! Before you resort to the famous “pee-in-Santa’s-lap” maneuver, check out one of these downtown bathrooms first. Look at the forecast before you decide to parade downtown in a skimpy Santa outfit. Not only is this bad for your health, but it can also lead to nature calling when the closest relief zone option is a snow drift.


Yellow Snow and Farter Christmas

Holiday Edition

culture club

Lockview on South Main Street

Civic Theater on South Main Street

Summit Artspace on East Market Street

by Marissa Marangoni

by Emily Dressler

by Marissa Marangoni

2 ¾ out of 5 toilets (but 5/5 in the grilled cheese department)

4.5 out of 5 toilets. Style over substance wins us over.

1.5 out of 5 toilets. 5 out of 5 art toilets.

The women’s bathroom, in the back near the patio steps, is to be expected. It was so dark in there that I looked around for a light switch, then gave up and said bloody mary three times. NOTHING HAPPENED. Maybe they could add a grilled cheese scented candle to make up for the dim lighting. Or maybe they could just install a bulb in the one light that is not lit. Christmas gift ideas!

Wow. There are like 85 stalls in this restroom. Approximate count shows ~25, but this place lends itself to hyperbole. THIS is where you should celebrate the New Year.

The bathroom is small: just two stalls and two sinks. But minimalism is making a comeback, so this is okay. The vampire hipsters approve. This bathroom has improved since its Lime Spider days, but not drastically. There is no changing table, but you’re probably not supposed to bring a baby into a bar. However, babies in a grilled cheese restaurant do seem like a perfect fit, so whatever. This is a pretty perfect lunch spot for a downtown shopping crowd, so maybe a changing table is something Lockview should consider. This seems like a place that would have surprisingly fancy olive oil soap or something nourishing for your skin. No such luck, it is just that boring pink stuff. However, the brown water stain above stall number 1 adds a little old-timey, rust belt charm that makes Akron, Akron.

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16

The nice folks at the Civic let us in even though the theatre wasn't open to the public. We didn’t even have to tell them about our super-important status as Devil Strip Bathroom Reviewers. They were rehearsing a show, and the energy that comes with an imminent performance infiltrated the entire place. Two stalls were out of order, but there are chandeliers, so shut up. The glitz and glamour of the theater certainly were considered when designing this relief site. Maybe that’s just a part of show biz. As wonderful as this bathroom is, it might be starting to show its age. The stalls and sinks are somewhat dated. There are two bottles of soap for eight sinks, which could be an issue on performance nights. However, the facility is well-maintained and functional, and there is even an interesting painting and a tasteful chifferobe. If we knew what a chifferobe was. It’s more of a mini-chifferobe, anyway.

Ahhh, art. Tis the season to view it and buy it. Once you’ve perused the newest installments and those Christmas cookies are getting a little too heavy, you may find yourself wondering where this quaint space hides their restrooms. We visited the first floor facilities, and those are located--well, just ask the desk attendant to direct you to them. This women’s bathroom is like getting coal in your stocking: At least it’s a gift, but you know it could be better. The Summit Artspace building is the old Akron Main Library, and we should thank our lucky stars for the primetime bathrooms in the current downtown library. Everything in this space is green, and it reminds us of an elementary school bathroom. Nostalgia is always nice, but it’s not everything. We aren’t sure how well the toilets actually function because the overwhelming sewer stench pervading the restroom chased us out before we got too far into our usual toilet explorations. Summit Art Space is a great place and supports local artists, which, being writers, we are all for, but you might want to check your drawers prior to visiting.


culture club

Hey baby,

I hear the bronze a-callin Wishing Harvey Firestone a Happy 147th Birthday by Sarah M. Koester


ehind the Bridgestone Firestone Headquarters on South Main sits the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial. Harvey S. Firestone, born on December 20, 1868, was the founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and member of the exclusive Millionaire’s Club (alongside Henry Ford and Thomas Edison). Firestone’s death in 1938 inspired the project that would forever immortalize him. Created by artist James Earle Fraser, Firestone’s likeness was constructed out of pure bronze and is seated looking dapper as ever, looking over the checkered grass-and-concrete landscaping. Behind the sculpture is an allegorical bas-relief, also


dedicated to Firestone. The memorial was to be unveiled during Firestone’s 50th anniversary by his five sons. As the deadline for the unveiling was closing in on Fraser, it was clear that the bronze statue of Firestone would not be completed in time. With hundreds of people expected to attend the unveiling—including national media like Life Magazine—Fraser, running out of time, improvised. Firestone’s 50th anniversary celebration went off without a hitch. On August 3, 1950 the bronze statue of Harvey Firestone was presented and dedicated as planned. Except for that the statue

wasn’t exactly bronze. When Fraser couldn’t produce the bronze statue in time, he and John Moore, the engineer that hired him, played a creative trick on all of the spectators at the unveiling that day. Fraser created a plaster replica of Harvey Firestone, painted it bronze and successfully passed it off as the original. It remained a closely-kept secret until former Akron Beacon Journal columnist David Giffels cracked it wide open in 2000.

was the wiser. It is rumored that John Moore kept the head of the plaster replica, and unfortunately destroyed it years later. Above: Last December on Harvey’s birthday, the Akron2Akron group took a chilly but awesome walking tour of Firestone Park that was organized by Rick Stockburger and ended at an excellent dive bar. (Photo courtesy of Dina Younis/

Eventually Fraser did complete the intended statue. When it was finished, he covered it with a tent and swapped out the two Firestones, and no one

DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |



culture club Pictured left: This is not just a cool way of thinking, but it’s also a dope unisex shirt produced by Neighbors Apparel, based in North Hill and available online at, along with a lot of cool clutches, pocket squares, totes, bracelets, scarves, bow ties and more, which were handmade by refugee women living in Akron. (photo credit: Studio KMR Photography)

Hazel Tree Interiors 143 W Market St., Akron, OH Hours: Tues-Fri 11am-5:30pm, Sat 11am-3:00pm Karen and Jon’s three-story studio features artwork, home decor and furnishings from local artists, home design services and custom framing. Wish List Item: Firestone Tire mold mirror, $400

How to get your Akron on AND knock your holiday shopping list out by Katie Jackson


very year, you run into a couple folks on your list for whom you want to get something truly different, but it’s tough. They have everything they need and every time you start to get something from one of the big box stores, you realize it’s mass-produced junk sold in hundreds of places. Nothing unique or thoughtful about it. If you’re really trying to get a someone special something special, let us help. You may have missed Crafty Mart and Small Business Saturday, but that’s okay because we know some folks who’d be glad to help you brighten someone’s holiday.

Akron Art Museum Store 1 S. High St., Akron, OH Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-5pm, Thurs 11am-9pm After spending an afternoon exploring the galleries, stop in the Museum Store to browse a range of contemporary, international and handmade artful objects for your home. Wish List Item: Devo Duck, $9.95


Bomb Shelter 923 Bank St., Akron, OH Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-5pm; Sun noon-4pm You never know what they’ll have, but if you’ve been to the Bomb Shelter, you know there’ll be something cool that wants to go home with you. Wish List Item:1974 BMW R90 with a sidecar.

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16

Land of Plenty 339 W Market St., Akron, OH Hours: Thurs-Sat 12pm-7pm, Sun 12pm-4pm If you’re in the know, you know where to go. Land of Plenty is a rising star for vintage & antique furniture and decor, houseplants, jewelry, contemporary art and gemstones. Wish List Item: Air plant terrariums, $18, and gemstone necklace, $15

Gypsy Grace & The Vintage Goat 451 W Market St., Akron, OH Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-4pm Stop in to Akron’s newest boutique of curated handmade, ‘vintique’, and retro housewares, furniture and oddities. Joe and Angel’s eclectic shop hosted a tarot card reader at their grand opening, and they plan to present monthly art, poetry and music events, including an alley caravan jam this summer. Wish List Item: Vintage thermometer, $90

The Market Path 833 W Market St., Akron, OH Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12pm-5pm An inviting, cheery shopping experience in Highland Square, The Market Path offers international, fair-trade goods including scarves, journals, jewelry, chocolate, coffee and art. Wish List Item: Bolivian wool scarf, hat and gloves, $24-$28 each

Venia Antiques and Design

Allie M.

347 W Market St., Akron, OH Hours: Wed-Thurs 1pm-4pm, Fri-Sat 1pm-6pm, Sun 1pm-4pm Tucked in the 300 block of West Market, Venia features affordable vintage and antique collectibles, furniture, art, custom merchandise and much more with new inventory arriving weekly. Wish List Item: Mid-century armchair, $40

Pilgrim Square (2299 W. Market St., Akron, OH) Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm Beloved local jewelry designer, Allie M brings inspirational and symbolic jewelry and accessories to her new expanded storefront featuring charm bracelets and necklaces. Wish List Item: Bee Happy necklace, $48


culture club Chic ladies: this is where it’s at. Urban Lace is the newest women’s boutique carrying one of a kind jewelry, clothing and accessories featuring local artisans. Wish List Item: Bird print skirt, $36

Exquisite Corpse Boutique Out of a passion for gothic subculture, Alexander Draven has harnessed his talent to create truly unique handcrafted timepieces and jewelry with Steampunk flair. Wish List Item: Engraved Brass Bar timepiece, $257.50

Urban Buzz Beautiful and functional, Urban Buzz creates sweetsmelling handcrafted beeswax candles using the purest beeswax from a local apiaries. Wish List Item: Beeswax pillar candle, $18

Don Drumm Studios & Gallery 437 Crouse St., Akron, OH Hours: Mon-Wed 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm, Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm Akron’s iconic artisan headquarters, you can get lost finding your way through the colorful rooms and buildings of beautiful jewelry, glass, sculpture, ceramics and metal craft design. Wish List Item: Metal Christmas ornaments, $19 each


BAM! Barberton Art Market Silver Eagle Antiques 2215 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, OH Hours: Tues-Sat 12pm-5:30pm Wanna trip down memory lane to your grandma’s attic? Step foot in Silver Eagle Antiques. A unique nostalgia shop containing antiques, vintage sports memorabilia, specialty collections and a toaster museum — what?! Wish List Item: Vintage tricycle, $150

Akron Centre (76 S. Main St., Akron, OH) A teeny hidden treasure in the heart of downtown is a true fashion destination! NOTO is a muststop for contemporary women’s clothing, local accessories and inspirational style ideas. Wish List Item: Plaid wool wrap, $28

Nine Muses Gallery (584 W Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton, OH)

December 12-13 • 11am-4pm The Social Dept. Sports? Check. Beer? Check. Humor? Check. Design skill? Double check. The Social Department is THE place to find the most creative tees with regional themes. For fans of sports, hometown pride, and graphic design. Wish List Item: Akron Survival Kit and Ohio Native tee, $25 each

BAM! is Barberton’s premier art and craft show, featuring fine art, jewelry, crafts, and live music. Then walk the strip to check out what’s poppin’ at Real Gone Daddy, StuffGenie, Alter’d Relics, Snowball Books and other cool shops in their surprisingly hip downtown retail district.

We Get You ... Sarah’s Vineyard Rubber City Clothing Company 18 N High St., Akron, OH Hours: Mon-Wed 11am-6pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12pm-5pm Akron represent! RCCC has claim to all the best Akron gear. They feature custom screen printed Akron-centric clothing and accessories for all your Rubber City needs. Wish List Item: Blimp belt buckle, $54.99

1204 W Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, OH Hours: Wed 11am-10pm, Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 12pm-7pm Combine date night and shopping while enjoying a wood fired pizza and glass of vino in the comfort of an art gallery barn featuring blown glass, jewelry, photography and watercolors, in addition to eight locally sourced and produced wines. Wish List Item: Cuyahoga Valley Reserve, $20 bottle

© Sigrid Olsson / Alamy

• Where you want to go with TripTik® Travel Planner maps and directions

• What you want to know with hotel, discount and gas price information

• Help along the way -

with easy road service request

Saint Augustine and Suds Urban Lace 119 Portage Trail, Cuyahoga Falls, OH Hours: Tues 11am-6pm, Wed-Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 11am-4pm

AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE Ahhhh. Need to relax? Look no further. Saint Augustine will pamper you with delightfully scented organic soaps, soaks, candles and more. Wish List Item: Cypress, Fir & Lavender bath bar, $6

Our apps keep you mobile. Download today. DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16 /

THE Devil Strip |


culture club

The Next Small Thing

TinyCircuits launches TinyArcade Kickstarter

They’re Akron’s little company than can, specializing in small, stackable arduinos that makers use to tackle fun projects. But now TinyCircuits is broadening its horizons and this latest Kickstarter project is part of that. The first two crowdfunded efforts helped get founder Ken Burns and company going, giving them a global customer base and the money to buy needed equipment. Even as much as the maker movement is growing, Ken realizes there’s a bigger audience they can tap into who currently don’t want to have to build the cool things they get. With TinyArcade, they can get their wee playable arcade game in a kit or already assembled. Heck, maybe it’ll even be the gateway drug that gets them into hard core maker-stuffs. Either way, it’s just part of a move to help the Canal Place-based operation grow. Another is a partnership with the EPA to develop technology that would help monitor waterways, which could mean Akron-made gadgets floating in every state all over the country. If that’s too heady or boring, you can still get in on the TinyArcade action by supporting their Kickstarter by December 17 at

For more, visit 38

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #16


Business of Health


WKSU News will air a 7-part health series about healthcare as an economic driver, focusing on: • Competition created among Northeast Ohio health providers

• Magnet for entrepreneurs and innovation

• Responsiveness of health education to the marketplace • Finances of healthcare

Listen every Tuesday during Morning Edition, between 5am – 9am December 8th – January 19th

Listen at 89.7 or
























WE SPECIALIZE IN EVERYTHING FROM OPEN MIC’S TO NATuRE HIkES Live music, outdoor recreation, art shows, drama, sports, fairs and festivals, nightlife — no matter what your idea of fun is, Summit County is full of doors you can open and events you can enjoy. And now, with the launch of, there’s an easy, one-stop way to find something cool to do tonight, tomorrow, this weekend or next. Check it out today. Because there’s always something going on in Summit County, and you don’t want to miss it! Check it and see where you want to be.

ArtS, CuLture, Fun, every DAy.



Issue 16 - It's a Dive Bar Family Christmas!  
Issue 16 - It's a Dive Bar Family Christmas!  

We find out how Mario Nemr and Ray Nemer got into the bar business (tl;dr = young!) then meet the guys behind Altered Realm Radio, discover...