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

Gratitude &Food

And WHO the heck IS THIS DUDE? [answer on page 3]

What is it like to be one of Akron's 452 homeless teens? (Page 16)

Why did Woodrow Nash bring his African-Nouveau from NYC to Copley Road? (Page 5)

Wanna make an all-local Thanksgiving meal? (Page 18) An all-vegan one? (Page 24)


The Devil Strip lture

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 >> Brit Charek, Craftiest Staff Writer/Maker of Empires; Jessica Conti, Says She’s Not That Clever But Must Be Lying; Christopher with K “not to be confused with Chris H” Morrison; Roger Riddle, Wears the Purple Pants; 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 >> 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 >> Heather “Doctor, Doctor” Braun; Andrew Leask; Eric Morris, Was Abducted By Jojo Pizzaface’; Scott Piepho; Bert Stevens; Elizabeth “Only in Akron” Tyran


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.


"I like pressure. Pressure doesn’t make me crack. It’s enabling. I eat pressure, and there might be times when I get a bad feeling in my gut that this might be too much, but you feel pressure when you’re not doing something, you know? When you’re getting ready for something, you feel pressure—when you’re anticipating. But when you’re constantly in activity, there’s no time for pressure to just sit there and make you crack." - Louis CK My grandfather was a devout evangelical Christian. He’s gone now, but when he was still alive, we jokingly called him the Most Right Reverend Jimmy Judd. It was a joke because in the non-denominational denomination I grew up in, preachers are preachers not reverends or pastors or anything else. We were all Brother and Sister Whoever. We kept other jokes about him. One was about Thanksgiving. Another was calling him a “pistolpacking preacher,” which was funny because it was true. He was a missionary for 50 years, working mostly in Malawi, Africa, and when he went out in the bush, he often holstered a gun. A few times, we know he actually used one. That’s how one water buffalo’s head ended up on a wall in Pop’s garage in Macon, Georgia. He said the buffalo would walk a path then carefully backtrack and hide to ambush someone hunting it. They were cunning and dangerous. Stories like that made me think of him like Indiana Jones. He even wore a fedora. As a kid, he was more exciting in absentia. My grandparents’ house was a menagerie of handcarved wooden figures, staffs, instruments, a cheetah skin, some horns and various related art, which I thought was normal decorative behavior until I was a teenager. In that environment, he remained a mystery as my mind gravitated towards stories of wily wild animals and head hunters when he was gone. But when he wasn’t actually in Africa or at other congregations around the country sharing repetitive slides of tomato plants and the churches they built with handmade bricks, he was home sharing them with us. That always took the romance out of his work. The Thanksgiving joke was this: “What are *you* grateful for this year?” Every holiday, my family rolled 20 deep at dinner and we worked up an appetite waiting to get to the table. Mammaw always cooked up a mess of food, filling the house with an incredible array of tummy-rumbling aromas that had you mentally

preparing your plate before it ever reached your hand. Then, before we could line up and grub, Pop would make us stand in the kitchen and (rightfully) give thanks for the hands that prepared that meal. By the time you reached your seat, you were dying for this food. That’s when, one Thanksgiving, he made all of us stop and go around the table answering, one-byone, as he asked, “What are you thankful for this year?” Every year after, someone would preface the meal with a sarcastic take on the same question, sparking laughter and simultaneously diffusing any intent Pop had at repeating his experiment. Thing is, thanks to the joke, I haven’t gotten near a Thanksgiving meal in the 20-something years since without asking myself the same.

what gave me space to panic—just enough to remember there’s so much more I’m excited to do here. The people who make this magazine possible—our editorial team and our contributors, the creatives who make it easy for us to fill these pages with stories, and the various Akronati who read us— aren’t just enriching my life by becoming my friends and opening doors to new experiences. They’re making possible a dream I’ve had since I was young. That is, to be good to my family and live with purpose. It feels amazing. They—you all—are what I’m grateful for this year. Thank you.


This year, I’m thankful for a lot, especially for the people of Akron, freaking out and hitting The Wall. See, of all the artifacts of my family’s life in Africa, none makes me as happy as the black and white photo of my mom hiding behind my grandma’s skirt as Mammaw cradles a shotgun and a Black Mamba lies dead at her feet. Mammaw eventually returned to the states full-time to raise her five children while Pop split his time between the continents for the next several decades, building a Bible college and an eye center along the way. But even when he was home, he was often gone raising money on a circuit of guest-preacher spots. The idea of him was more present than he was. I don’t know when, but I decided long before I had a family that I wouldn’t do that no matter how big or noble my work. If ambition and an autodidactic bent can be inherited, I believe I owe a lot to Pop’s trickledown genetics, but I owe him more for making me determined to be a good husband and a good father—AND still do something impactful with my life. The Sunday before this issue came out, I ran my third marathon, which meant running through my third encounter with The Wall, that point about 20 miles in when your body threatens to rebel completely. Knowing that’s coming doesn’t make the pain easier, but it does make the decision clearer: you quit or you overcome. The best way past is often through it. Well, a week or so earlier, I hit The Wall with The Devil Strip. I panicked, deciding I needed to put this foolishness behind me and get a real job and make money and wear ties and whatnot. A couple hours later, after I got back to my to-do list, I realized it was one year to the day I quit my day job. Like that fear and doubt had come back to haunt me. Still, it’s the best decision I could have made for reasons I hope are obvious. Chief among them: The people. In fact, it’s because of them I freaked out too. Look at the masthead. That editorial team is working miracles because I have “free time” now. That’s

About the Cover

That "dude" on the cover is Derby, a.k.a. Frederick Shortridge, a.k.a. the most recent winner of the Akron Art Prize. He's a man with a story who deserves more ink than he's getting in this issue, but by the time we found out he'd claimed the prize, we'd assigned all the writers and space. So we decided to put him on the cover because it's our magazine and we can do stuff like that. The walking cane he's holding on page 1 is his latest and in this photo inside, that's his award-winning submission, Afro Historical Family Tree, which he carved by hand--often as he was seated outside in downtown Akron. Most impressively, Derby is a self-taught artist who's been working on stick and cane carving for just five years. Clearly he's learned a few things along the way because he picked up almost 3,700 votes in less than 30 days. So congrats, Mr. Shortridge! We're looking forward to catching up with you for something more formal soon. (Photos by Svetla Morrison/The Devil Strip)

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Arts >>

Room For Every Art There’s more to ACAMP’s arts agenda than painting with a glass in hand by Bronlynn Thurman

Nestled above Time Travel Records on W. Market St. sits the Akron Center for Art, Music & Performance, or ACAMP. Run by Tracey Shepard with art direction from Amy Mothersbaugh, ACAMP strives to provide quality classes for all, regardless of age and socioeconomic status. They offer both group and private lessons in a variety of creative crafts. Each room is dedicated to a different art form. From theatre run by Wandering Aesthetics’ Benjamin Rexroad and Kyle Jozsa to music lessons by Shepard and Mark Lee Shannon to yoga classes by Nancy Lynn Holland and art classes by Amy Mothersbaugh, this facility covers all of your creative bases.

may not have the means to pursue their interests. How many Mozarts, Da Vincis, Shakespeares are out there but have untapped potential due to lack of means? ACAMP seeks to bridge that gap and uncover the gems. You can find out more by visiting 118 West Market St. in Akron or checking out their website at // Bronlynn is an elusive elf who wanders the Akron mountainside, but sometimes you can find her at @_ bront_ on Twitter or Instagram.

While ACAMP is best known for their Wine & Canvas classes, Shepard wants people to know that there is much more to the art center. In addition to their monthly adult events and regular classes, they hold live shows, theatre and workshops. What really drew me to the place was the welcoming atmosphere and the fact that they offer some form of sponsorship. This is for those who have an interest but


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Sculpting Culture Finding African-Nouveau on Copley Road by Roger Riddle

As sculptor Woodrow Nash came of age in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and on into the ‘70s, he says Akron lacked an arts scene of any kind. So much so that he didn't have anyone to look to or to mentor him. He was already artistically inclined and loved to draw and paint. It came naturally and he embraced it.

period, was going strong, and Kratka began releasing albums from artists such as Jeff Lorber Fusion, Ornette Cobb, Cat Anderson and Lionel Hampton, to name a few. During that time period, Nash created roughly 40 album covers for them. It was a good time to live in New York. Nash spent some of his free time listening to jazz in clubs like the famed Village Gate, and the Cellar on the upper west side. Sometimes he even stopped in dance clubs like Leviticus and Justine's. However, he feels that he couldn't live there now – even though he is heading there in a week for a short visit.

Nash started high school attending Buchtel, which was predominantly white at the time. Later he moved from Buchtel to South High School, where for the first time he found himself at a predominantly black school. He remembers a moment when he was drawing and a classmate walked up to him and asked, “Why you always draw white people?” It had never occurred to him that he did. The style of art he learned came through the influences of his white instructors. This would be a turning point in how he viewed and explored art. Today Nash defines his style as “African-Nouveau,” a combination of 15th century Benin from the Southwest of Africa, with 18th century Art Nouveau of Europe. The absence of eyes to draw the viewer into the piece – taken from the Benin style – is a mainstay of Nash's work. His pieces also feature long lines that suggest a fluidity and movement, making each piece seem as if they are

“But to live there? Now I need a house and a backyard, so I can cookout,” he states. about to come alive. This is an element he found in Art Nouveau style. However, his African-Nouveau style was not the beginning of his professional career. It developed after a stint in New York during the ‘70s when the Madison Avenue ad agencies were still going strong and Nash was interested in making commercial art. “If you wanted to be in commercial art, you went

to New York,” Nash explains. While in New York, Nash attended the Pell School of Art, a school specializing in commercial art. After receiving an associate art degree, he began to work as a freelance artist, and eventually began to design album covers for the Music Minus One and Inner City Jazz labels – two labels owned by Irv Kratka. The ‘70s were a great time for jazz in New York. The fusion movement, as well as a classic revival

United Way of Summit County

Nash made the decision to come back to Akron so that he could be with his family. Now he has those comforts right here in his hometown. “I had two children from a previous marriage,” he says. “They were going through some changes, and I felt that it would be best to give up my bachelor, wild life – which I was really enjoying at that time – and come back and do the fatherly thing.” (continued on page 8)

United Way promotes equal access to healthy, high-quality food for all in Summit County. To donate or volunteer, go to UWSUMMIT.ORG


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


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THE ART OF CONNECTING THE COMMUNITY by Megan Combs’s big, crazy mission to connect all of Summit County’s artists and creatives with an audience Sure, there are lots of websites to peruse to find something artsy going on in your neck of the woods. But thanks to ArtsNow, there’s one big, glorious interactive portal you can search to find events or artists in all of Summit County. And the best part? It’s free! launched Oct. 15 and is

available to anyone anywhere. The goal is to make it easy to find all the great events happening in Summit County, said Nicole Mullet, executive director of ArtsNow. "We need this," Mullet said. "It's a one-stop shop for arts and culture, and it speaks to the entire county and all types of people."

Find wild holiday gifts for Everyone on your list!

Trunk Show 03

Thursday, December 3

Trunk Show, 4-7:30 pm

Join the Akron Zoo for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience! Stop by to browse goods from local artists and vendors, and visit the gift shop for all your holiday needs this season.



For every $10 you spend, you’ll be entered in a raffle to win a gift. Akron Zoo members receive 20% off gift shop purchases.

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arts ArtsNow was born out of a county-wide assessment of the arts, conducted by the GAR Foundation and the Knight Foundation. Over many meetings with artists, creatives, business owners and political figures in the county, the general consensus was that the county needed a database where artists could create a profile and drive more traffic to their websites.

hoping being an artist on this website will open some doors."

ArtsNow and SummitLive365 are supported by several community organizations including the GAR Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Akron Community Foundation, Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation.

SummitLive365 is the first project of its kind in Ohio, but there are several states using the same platform, Artsopolis, Mullet said. One fear is that once the website is launched, no one will use it, but ArtsNow has a plan to combat that worry.

How it works: An artist or creative creates a free profile on SummitLive365, adds their website and social media platforms, and gives it several tags/ categories, depending on their art. Looking for a jazz musician? There's a category for that. Painter? Yup. Wedding singer? Sure! Artists and creatives can also list events or showcase their portfolio, and there's even an opportunity for website visitors to interact with the artists and creatives, Mullet said. In addition, the mobile website features responsive design. If you're standing in the city of Green, you can open the website, let it ping you and find any events happening nearby.

He added that when people hear Summit County, the tendency is to only think about downtown Akron. "But we're about so much more than that," Rexroad said. "Each community has a unique identity and SummitLive can help showcase that."

"The people on this site are the ones who said they needed it and wanted it," Mullet said. "We had 18 months of intense community conversations about this project, and there was a resounding call to action." Mullet, Rexroad and other team members have since been out canvassing the community, making connections and getting people on the site. "Rather than sitting behind our desks, we're out there talking," Mullet said. "That's how we get work done here." //Megan can be found on Twitter at @meganrcombs. Please let her know about your upcoming arts events or if you’re an artist up to something good.

"There are links to what's hot right now, what everyone is clicking on, and it's all divided up by category," Mullet said. "It's an interactive portal and we're trying to drive commercial traffic back to our artists." Benjamin Rexroad, a consultant at SummitLive365, is also an artist in the community. He runs Wandering Aesthetics, a theater company in downtown Akron. To him, the website is a way to improve connectivity throughout the county. "As an artist, I'm hopeful the website and (ArtsNow) will help connect the arts and business sectors because sometimes it's really hard to make those footholds and inroads," Rexroad said. "I'm

{ in review }


A tale of political ambition gone awry, "Macbeth" has always been one of my favorite Shakespearian plays. It is his shortest tragedy and his villains are constantly plagued with self-doubt, guilt and paranoia. At the start of the Rubber City Shakespeare Company’s latest production, the famous lines “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” reverberated through the dimly lit room of the second floor Summit Artspace. Three women dressed in early 1900s attire set the stage for what would be an interesting rendition of Shakespeare’s "Macbeth." The stage was built to resemble the entrance of a rubber factory as an homage to The Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture/ New World Performance Lab’s The Devil’s Milk series, which is set in early 20th century Akron. Tires lined the curtained entrance and a phonograph sat in the far corner hinting at a time long past. The local theatre companies’ ability to pay tribute to each other’s work in creative ways says a lot about Akron’s sense of community and desire to help one another. Over the course of two hours, actors expertly delivered each line of the original play, but the setting breathed new life into each word.

actors would interact with the audience. They weaved between sections, found objects stored around the room and attempted to engage with their viewers. Hecate, a character often cut in other variations of the play, would draw close to a particular audience member and speak to them. Personally, my favorite scenes involved the Weird Sisters and Lady Macbeth. The sisters left me with a sense of trepidation every time they entered the room. Speaking in rhyming couplets, they deliver “Double, double, toil and trouble, / Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” Cait McNeal does a stellar job of conveying the strength then downward spiral of Lady Macbeth. Once a ruthless, ambitious, manipulative woman, she begins to descend into madness and paranoia after the deed of death is done. Her sleepwalking scene left a deep impression upon me. Next up from Rubber City Shakespeare Company will be Ginna Hoben’s “The Twelve Dates of Christmas” running December 4-19. Learn more at // Bronlynn, the elfin queen, can be found in her hermit cave with her mighty dragon, Raizo, or at @_bront_ on Twitter or Instagram.

A few seats were pegged as ones where the


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Miller South School to host open house Parents and prospective students are invited to attend by Mary Menzemer

The Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts is unquestionably a unique educational institution for Akron. An artistic outlet for kids in fourth through eighth grades, students can choose from a variety of concentrations such as visual arts, dance, piano, voice and drama. Traditional classes such as English and math are also provided. It will host an open house on Nov. 5 from 6 to 8 pm. Parents and prospective students can watch student performers and discuss possibilities of enrolling in the school. Non Akron natives are invited as well. The open enrollment process will begin in December.

DON’T FORGET YOUR COSTUME! Celebrating local comics and comic creators at Akron Comicon by Bronlynn Thurman

// Mary Menzemer is a self-proclaimed literary artist and enjoys making modern art out of wire hangers.

Every year, thousands descend upon Akron for the annual two-day Akron Comicon. From old fans to new, Akron Comicon has it all with a goal of keeping newspaper comics and comic books viewed as an American art medium worthy of preservation. The convention’s slogan “Fans First! Fans Always!” highlights its desire to keep it all about fans of comics. To do this, they bring in and celebrate creators of mainstream comics as well as independent publishers who are becoming a

(continued from page 5) Along with being close to his family, the cost of living here has allowed him to open his own studio and gallery on Copley Road. His work has now gained so much recognition that art lovers and galleries nationwide come to him. He is well aware that this lifestyle is the exception to the rule here in Akron when it comes to other artists.


This year’s events include panel discussions, comic book workshops and costume contests. Their special guests include Mike Zeck (Master of KungFu), Dirk Manning (Nightmare World), Darryl Banks (Green Lantern), Tom Batiuk (Funky Winkerbean) and Jim Beard (Gotham City 14 Miles) to name a few. Be sure to check it out on November 7-8 at the Quaker Station on the University of Akron campus.

“It's one thing to have a product, but it's another thing to take that product to market where people actually want to purchase it,” Nash says. “And that's what I learned in the advertising industry.”

and back is reflected in his plainspoken confidence and his stunning, larger than life sculptures. There is no question that an artist from Akron can make it on a grand stage. Nash is living proof.

Because the business side of art has not been nurtured in Akron's artists, he sees a lot of talented artists go in other directions out of fear of living the “starving artist” stereotype.

// Roger Riddle is a DJ and the Chief Curator for Unbox

Though Akron's art scene has grown since Nash's schoolboy days, you get the sense that it has not grown to where he would like to see it. “It's not because there's not talent here,” Nash says.

Along with learning skills to market themselves, Nash offers a bit of advice for up and coming artists that he followed himself: “I would tell them to leave Akron.”

He sees Akron's established artists as working more independently of each other and outside of what is going on at the Akron Art Museum. He also thinks a lot of Akron's young artists have what it takes to be successful, they just don't know how to make that talent work for them – a skill he learned during his days as a commercial artist in New York.

He goes on to clarify, “If you are going to be making statements – about who you are, what you feel about this, what you feel about that – you have to experience something.” Nash feels these experiences might be difficult to find when you are limited to Akron.

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viable alternative to the mainstream world.

In Nash's case, the journey from Akron to New York

Akron. You can contact him at

Visit Nash’s studio The Rage Gallery, at 800 Copley Road in Akron. Call 330-253-7040 to inquire about his sculptures.



When the 'Bad Feminist’ Comes to Town Six questions for author Roxane Gay by Heather Braun

Roxane Gay Free public reading & book signing Thursday, November 19 at 7 pm UA Student Union Theater It’s been more than a year since Time Magazine crowned 2014 as “...the year of Roxane Gay,” following the publication of her novel “An Untamed State” and her essay collection “Bad Feminist,” but the Nebraska-born writer hasn’t slowed her roll much. She’s still traveling the country and some places around the world, sharing her work, which brings her to Akron on November 19-20 for the NEOMFA Visiting Writers series. A prolific short story writer and essayist, her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, bitch, Tin House, the Oxford American and Barrelhouse, and has been included in multiple “Best American” anthologies. She’s also co-editor of the literary magazine PANK. To learn more about her appearance in Akron, and about the NEOMFA program, visit For more about Roxane, visit her website at

conversations about feminism are both there and here in the U.S. HB: In your TED talk “Confessions of a ‘Bad Feminist’,” you explain the last line of your book: “I would rather be a ‘Bad Feminist’ than no feminist at all.” What do you believe is even more harmful than the reluctance to claim feminism or the need to hold women to impossible standards? RG: That list is long—institutional misogyny, the violences women face in their everyday lives, popular culture that is more interested in demeaning women than considering them as human, the retraction of a woman’s right to make reproductive choices without legislative intervention, and on the list goes.

you would have liked? Did this experience influence RG: I wouldn’t call it weird, but the most how you deal with criticism or rejection now? interesting things I’ve been asked to sign are body parts—a woman’s breast, and another woman’s RG: I don’t know that I ever handle rejection well, inner thigh. I love baby elephants because they are but I don’t throw tantrums about it. I have a quiet cute and tiny and perfect. sulk as long as I need, and then I move on. When HB: When "Bad Feminist" was first published, my novel was on submission, I struggled with HB: Could you tell us about a past collaborative you were described as “a welcome threat to rejection the most because I believed in the story I project that you felt worked particularly well? And mainstream feminist sensibilities” and “our next had written so much and it hurt that editors didn’t if you could work with anyone on a future project, feminist icon.” What’s been the hardest part about want to take a chance on the book. Fortunately, I what would be your dream collaboration? balancing your work as a mainstream writer with have someone in my life who believes in me and your career as an academic? my work when I falter and that helped me get RG: PANK, the literary magazine I co-edit, has HEATHER: "Bad Feminist" has been translated into through until my novel sold. In terms of criticism, been an amazing collaborative project, for the multiple languages, including Japanese and (soon) RG: The balance hasn’t been difficult because I I do my best, once I get past my hurt feelings, to past eight years. My co-editor, M. Bartley Seigel Finnish. In your recent travels to promote your work teach in a creative writing program. My work at hear what is being said. If that criticism will help is a great collaborator because we balance each internationally, what has surprised you most about the university is quite different from my nonfiction me become a better writer or thinker or person, I other really well. Our quirks just aligned from the how your work is received in other countries? writing. The real challenge is finding the time to be try to take it to heart. beginning and it has been so fun to work with fully present as both a teacher and a writer. I have a him on a magazine that is a true labor of love, and ROXANE: The Japanese rights just sold, and so did lot going on and I cannot always keep up. HB: On Twitter, you shared that you were recently that has consistently put out amazing, challenging, the Finnish rights. The only country I’ve yet been asked to sign someone’s Kindle. What is the interesting writing. to promote my books is Australia. I was surprised HB: We have all faced rejection and struggled to weirdest request you've received from a fan? Also, I and thrilled by how warmly both of my books learn from our failures. Is there a moment you can really want to know: where does your love of baby I would love to work with Shonda Rhimes on were received and how vibrant and necessary recall when you did not handle rejection as well as elephants come from? a TV show.


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Party like it's 1868

Mark Dawidziak describes Twain’s visit to Akron in new book by Mary Menzemer

Dance halls and serenades? Satirical speeches, subtle jabs at lucrative American society, and political raillery layered with sarcasm? The latter half of ideologies describe Mark Twain to the T (pun definitely intended), but the world is generally not familiar with his more lighthearted, sociable side. Mark Dawidziak outlines Mark Twain’s visit to Akron in his newest book “Mark Twain in Ohio” and how he partied like Akronites know how to do.

Mark Dawidziak currently works for The Cleveland Plain Dealer as a film critic. He has written a plethora of books about Mark Twain already, but this one in particular hits close to home for both Ohioans and Akronites, for obvious reasons. A Twain scholar and impersonator, film critic and journalist, Dawidziak finds the spare time to also During Twain’s visit to Akron on Dec. 20, 1868, be a horror novelist. he delivered his speech “The American Vandal In an interview with Abroad” at a Methodist church that was located on Dawidziak, he tells The the now nonexistent northwest corner of Church Devil Strip why Akron and Broadway streets. According to Dawidziak’s was a hot spot for findings, Twain believed the audience of his lecture entertainers back in to be the largest in attendance of any speech the day as well as why made in Akron since 1866. Afterwards, Twain contemporary Akron attended a dance party and “stayed til 12:30, remains to be as such. though [he] only danced three times.” Twain “Mark Twain in Ohio” described the friends he met at the party in a is currently available letter to his wife as “comely and companionable… for purchase at The cordial, intelligent, and agreeable.” In the letter, Bookseller in Wallhaven. he writes as if he preferred the company of 19th century commonplace Akronites over the possibility Below is a Q&A with Mark about his newest book of being serenaded by a brass band, or making as told by Mary Menzemer: another aggrandized speech. “[I] wouldn’t have enjoyed being so pointedly lionized.” THE DEVIL STRIP: How has your interest in film helped procure your interest and research on Mark In part, this sliver of history shows what makes Twain's life and works? Akronites so special, even two centuries ago. And Twain himself noticed it too. He even mentions MARK DAWIDZIAK: One of the most influential meeting a family from the area who wanted to things for me was when I was ten years old and give him a party the next time he visited. This watched Hal Holbrook on CBS. He was performing accommodating nature is more difficult to find in the one man show on Mark Twain Tonight and larger cities, contrary to both the urban and homey gave an amazing performance. It was like he was nature of Akron. alive and actually talking to me in my youth, and it


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made an enormous impact on me. Holbrook had the wit and political discussion that was a part of Mark Twain. I started reading Mark Twain’s books in high school, whereas when I was younger I was interested in the movie versions of the books. I thought he had a fascinating life. Now, I’m writing about adaptations of Twain’s work, which I’m very interested in. TDS: What drew prolific entertainers such as Twain to Akron specifically? MD: Twain gave two lecture tours in Ohio, and people ask, why Ravenna but not Kent? Kent was not a bigger city at the time, and Ravenna had an opera house, which was great for lecturers. You have to think about what a city was like at the time these things were happening. Akron had a sizeable population and several lecture halls, all of which were booked when Mark Twain visited. They had to pencil him in at a Methodist church. Akron also had a well-educated population, and lectures were the prime form of entertainment, especially when the lecturers were comedians like Twain. TDS: Do you think that contemporary Akron can provide the same attraction today for the arts as it did years ago?

MD: Absolutely. Akron has a more complex and diverse population base, and a thousand times more interesting population base at that. Getting entertainers to Akron is a matter of marketing. Twain was very marketing savvy. When I started working at the Akron Beacon Journal in 1983, it was not the same town as it is today. It was certainly a good town, but now it’s about people with visions and the ability to tap into their potential. TDS: What do you think Akron can offer to young entertainers, writers, and journalists? MD: Northeast Ohio has had a number of people come out of it who are doing great things. Maybe it’s something in the water or the harsh winters, but it has helped develop people. At the Akron Beacon Journal, there were an amazing number of people to profile and interview. Now I think that Akron has a huge export for artists, musicians, painters, and even comedians. A fine comedy festival could be produced with Northeast Ohioans. They have a witty way of looking at the world. TDS: If Mark Twain was in a horror story, what kind of character would he be? MD: I’ve actually thought about using Mark Twain in one of my horror novels. I think he would be a character who doesn’t believe. He was that and a great devil’s advocate who would not hesitate to speak ill of that stuff. // Mary Menzemer is part time angelic bibliophile, part time Nazgul. She is drowning in the beauty that is Akron, Ohio.



DIY: Pumpkins with a Midas Touch A step-by-step guide on creating the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving feast by Megan Combs

Does your dining room table need that little extra zhoosh this holiday season? Mine did too, so I decided to give gold leaf pumpkins a whirl. It's a cheap project that took me about 45 minutes to complete. Here's what you need: (I purchased everything except the wax paper at Michael's)

Fake pumpkin(s) Spray adhesive that dries tacky Gold leaf sheets Wax paper Either a foam paint brush or a soft bristled paint brush

1. Take your pumpkin(s) outside and thoroughly spray them with the spray adhesive. 2. Do not attempt this step with glue still on your fingers. Trust me. Open your gold leaf and cut 4. Use either your finger or a soft bristled paint out a piece of wax paper that is about the same brush to gently smooth the leaf out. Do not size as each gold leaf sheet. While the leaf is press hard. This stuff tears easily. Repeat this still in the book, lay it down on the wax paper step until your pumpkins are covered. and press. The gold leaf will stick to the paper.

You may have to go over some areas twice if you keep ripping your gold leaf, like I did. Spraying the hole with glue and then putting a bigger piece over it helped. Good luck with your project, and feel free to share pictures on our Facebook wall! 3. Using the wax paper, place your gold leaf on the pumpkin. Slowly peel the wax paper away.

5. Using the foam brush, push a little harder to remove the flappy gold leaf that isn't sticking. If the tack on your pumpkin goes away, keep your spray adhesive nearby for it a little spritz.

// Megan, a somewhat crafty kinda gal, is getting more and more into DIY now that she owns a house.

— November —

Six-Word Stories We asked our readers to send us a six-word story on social media, and they didn’t disappoint. #ADS6wordstory

@UnboxAkron @ Jimjakk

She couldn't believe what was inside.

Winter ended. Her grave became dandelions.

Joanna Wilson

Revolutions have been started with less

@schweitzercomm Brit Charek

His dreams were in a shoebox. Ok, but Hemingway did it better.

@smARTSakron Rachel Lenk

Braided begonia blossoms inspired tangled tresses. Cats' purrs heal the human soul.

David Swirsky Dominic Caruso @wutz4tea

If it doesn't exist. Create it. He squinted. Memphis rippled, hunting sea-monsters. After killing frost Indian Summer comes.


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THE Devil Strip |



From the Collection ART IS WORK by Dominic Caruso

Art is work. Maybe that is an obvious declaration, but sometimes it is easy to forget. I was looking at Charles Beneke’s installation, Specter, in the gallery the other day when I remembered some of the work that went into creating it. One of the fascinating aspects of art that is created by the artist in the gallery or the space it will inhabit is being able to witness some of the work—the artist’s creative process. I was lucky enough to see the painstaking work that Charles and Akron Art Museum staff members undertook in order to build the unseen structure that gives the artwork its form. Even though Charles arrived with a detailed blueprint, each space is unique and presents its own challenges which must be incorporated into the design of the final artwork, and that was true of the Judith Bear Isroff Gallery where Specter

is now. The piece materialized piece by piece as Charles and three or four museum staff members worked out the details of its construction: how to mount the scaffolding to the walls and ceiling, how to create a skeleton onto which Charles could layer hundreds of prints, how to adhere the wallpaper portion of the piece to the gallery wall without damaging it. They addressed problems and obstacles that arose, and made decisions about how Specter would work and what it would ultimately look like in the gallery. It was like watching a drawing or painting take shape in midair. This is to say nothing of the work that Beneke did in creating the prints that create Specter’s outward appearance, all of which he screenprinted by hand on Tyvek paper.

Above (Top to Bottom): Charles Beneke: Specter, construction process.; Specter, installation view. Charles Beneke speaking during the September 13 reception for Specter. Photos courtesy of the Akron Art Museum and Nat Hansumrittisak / Lake What I Do Photography.


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Specter addresses issues of climate change and the alarming, catastrophic changes our environment seems to be undergoing as a result of the confluence of repeated, unsustainable human actions. Regardless of what you believe or know about climate change, Specter is worth visiting if only feel what it is like to inhabit the same space as something so ominous, imposing—like a visitation or an occupation—and, in its own way, weightless and beautiful. It’s possible to experience the sensibility of work, albeit in a different way, in another exhibition at the art museum right now as well. The photography exhibition Andrea Modica: Extended Moments is made up of 29 platinum palladium contact prints Modica has made dating from 1986 to the present day. Modica uses an 8 x 10 in. view camera, which is kind of the opposite of, say, an iPhone camera. It’s big and bulky, like the cameras you’re likely to see in any movie or TV show that takes place in between the Civil War and the turn of the century. It requires an arduous amount of set-up time. View camera film holders contain only two sheets of film, which means you can only expose two pieces of film before you have to reload the camera with another film holder. But the work is clearly worth it. The set-up time of the view camera enhances Modica’s understanding of her subjects, deepening the relationship she has with them and, in most cases, enlisting their cooperation in the creation of the photograph. The resulting artworks are meticulously crafted, imaginatively composed, rich with light and tonal range, and filled with the beauty, frailties and invisible dynamics of the relationships that make up our lives.

Andrea Modica, Scuola Venturi, Modena, Italy, 2010, platinum palladium print, 10 x 8 in. Courtesy of the artist. In the coming weeks, you may also be able to witness some of the creative process (work) in the galleries again. Installation will begin for NEO Geo, an exhibition featuring the work of eight Northern Ohio artists working in geometric abstraction. Part of the exhibition is a room-sized installation painting by Natalie Lanese, who paints directly on the walls and floors of the gallery to create work that engages the perception of the viewer in surprising ways. You won’t be able to be in the gallery space while she is working, but you will be able to observe a bit from the gallery entrance as the installation progresses. NEO Geo opens with a party on Friday, November 20, so end the work week with us and see the artists dazzling variations of geometric abstraction.


community and culture >>

How to welcome PechaKucha Night to Akron by Christopher Morrison

PechaKucha—Try looking this word up in Webster’s Dictionary online and you'll probably get "the word you've entered isn't in the dictionary, please check spelling.” Like many of you, my Japanese is a bit rusty. PechaKucha, pronounced (pe-cha koo cha)—yes sound it out—is the Japanese word for chit chat, but as an event, it’s been increasing in popularity all over the globe, popping up in about 800 cities, from Aalborg, Denmark to Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic and seemingly everywhere in between. This rapid growth is due to PechaKucha Night’s ability to attract enthusiastic people who are eager to share their ideas visually. Picture a mini-TED Talk on Red Bull.


Presenters show 20 images, dwelling on each slide for only 20 seconds before moving on. It’s a fastpaced PowerPoint that rushes you through an idea, concept or story in exactly six minutes and 40 seconds.

businesses and innovators, which is programmed by Annal Vyas, who is also a visiting Professor of Clinical Law at the University of Akron School of Law. (You may remember him from our “Big Idea” issue.)

It was first introduced 12 years ago, by two architects in Tokyo, Japan as a means of both keeping their own presentations short and challenging themselves in the process. Now that it’s spread all the way to Akron, by way of the Bit Factory, PechaKucha Night will help local presenters share their ideas, projects and knowledge—FREE to the public, a word we Americans like I’m told.

His hope for the event is simple: to connect and inspire Akronites. A number of speakers will stimulate us intellectually with a variety of topics, ranging from Akron's art scene, music, technology and science to local small businesses and the treasures in our neighborhoods.

PechaKucha is a perfect fit for the Bit Factory, a site of local entrepreneurs collaborating with startup

throughout the year.” If you are eager to learn more and want stay tuned to the latest updates, make sure to follow PechaKucha Akron on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


“I think PechaKucha will really tune into Akron’s The first PechaKucha event is November 13 at creatives,” Vyas says. “There are so many dynamic, The Bit Factory. Doors open at 7 pm and the and different disciplines to organize and showcase event begins at 8 pm. through these volumes, which will be held quarterly

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OPENING PARTY FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2015 Member Preview - 6:30 pm Free Public Opening - 7:30 - 9 pm On view November 21, 2015 through April 24, 2016

Get up close and personal with the artists, contribute to a collective shape abstraction in the video box, enjoy the sounds of the Fourons, sip on a creative cocktail and create a geometric artwork of your own. Wear your best and boldest shapes and geometric patterns. 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. All photos courtesy of the individual artists. 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.

One South High | Akron, OH 44308 | 330.376.9185 |

community and culture

Crafty Mart 101 6 questions with the folks who make Crafty Mart happen by Brit Charek & Joanna Wilson

While both Brit Charek and Joanna Wilson have been contributors for The Devil Strip, you likely recognize their names from their awesome Akron Empire blog ( If you’re a regular reader of either The Empire or this mag, you probably know they’re also the engines that make Crafty Mart run. So we asked Brit and Joanna for a quick breakdown of what to expect at Akron’s crafts-centric, small-business lovin’ shopping extravaganza, now in its seventh year this November 28-29. WHAT KIND OF VENDORS WILL YOU HAVE THIS YEAR AT CRAFTY MART? Joanna: Our makers and artists are as varied as Akron itself. We've got everything from one-ofa-kind jewelry and leather goods, to beeswax candles and locally-sourced honey, to Akron-centric tees and pillows, to crafted furniture and wooden robots, to hand-sewn bags and soaps and beauty products, to specially blended teas and artisanal caramels, to nerdy buttons and high fashion bow ties, and more! (See for yourself--each vendor link goes to their website:

HAS ANYTHING CHANGED SINCE LAST YEAR? Brit: This year, we are offering a series of workshops for folks who'd like to make their own gifts! We've done this before, but this time, due to a generous gift from the Knight Foundation, we are able to offer all workshops for under $15 (up to a $150 value!!) We're also featuring a signature drink at our 3rd floor bar at Summit Artspace: The NORKA Mule combines NORKA ginger ale, vodka and a homemade ginger spice

simple syrup to keep you warm while you're shopping - YUM!

HOW HAS CRAFTY MART GROWN, BOTH AS AN ORGANIZATION AND IN ATTENDANCE, OVER THE PAST 7 YEARS? JW: As of the start of this year, we now function as a non-profit organization. In addition to the Holiday Show and the Mom & Pop Shoppe in the Spring, we now organize a monthly event at Summit Artspace during the Artwalk, as well as several pop-up markets throughout the year like the ones at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. To give you an idea about our expansion, that first year, the Holiday Show in 2009, we had makers fill Musica. This year, we'll have artisans not only occupy Musica, but take over the Akron Art Museum and Summit Artspace as well. The Holiday Show is a 2-day event as well, so if Saturday, Nov. 28th doesn't fit your schedule, you have Sunday (Nov. 29th) to take it all in.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION? BC: Holy loaded question! I'm pretty well connected to the regional and national crafty maker scene, and am always exchanging ideas with other show organizers from around the country. I'm actually working with Crafty Supermarket in Cincinnati and Craftin Outlaws in Columbus to host the Midwest Craft Con - a 3 day retreat for mid-career crafters February 19-21 in Columbus. I'm hoping that this summit will be a great place for crafty folks to recharge after the holiday season, as well as share best practices and ideas to better connect the maker community on a national level.

a beer or a meal before moving on to the next venue--it's a whole day's worth of experiences that I always look forward to.

WHAT SHOPPING TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE TO A FIRST-TIME ATTENDEE? BC: Since it's a lot to take in, break up the day by making sure to stop for lunch or libations, which you can do at all three locations. Make sure to grab a program when you walk in, and hit up all three venues. If you get your program stamped at all three locations and turn it in, you can enter to win some awesome gift baskets courtesy of our awesome vendors and sponsors! Yelp will be offering free gift wrapping right by where our auction table is located on the 3rd floor of Summit Artspace, so make sure to hit that up.

Come prepared with your holiday shopping list. I'm willing to bet you can do most--if not all--of your holiday gift shopping and be more satisfied with those purchases. There's a world of difference between supporting small business artisans and shopping big box stores. If you come on Saturday (Nov. 28th) and wake up the next morning with regrets about what you missed or didn't buy, know that you can return on Sunday (Nov. 29th) and shop again. The 7th Annual Crafty Mart November 28 & 29, 2015 At THREE LOCATIONS: Musica, Summit Artspace, and the Akron Art Museum

JW: My advice: start early. Take your time. Dance to the music. Take advantage of the free admission to the Akron Art Museum's galleries. Re-fuel with a beer or a meal in the café in Summit Artspace, the iQCafé in the Museum, or at Urban Eats next to Musica. Overall, enjoy yourself--this is what it's all about!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT CRAFTY MART? JW: One of the things I love most about Crafty Mart is that it's more than just shopping for small business artists and makers--which is important to me. But it's also about bumping into good friends, enjoying the funktacular deejays, enjoying


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community and culture

How to Help During the Holidays ACCESS, Inc 330.376.0997 • Dedicated to addressing the plight of homeless women and children in our community HOW YOU CAN HELP: Adopt a Family at Thanksgiving or Christmas, or donations of new toiletries, pillows and sheets, and baby products Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank 330.535.6900 • Feed people. Fight hunger. HOW YOU CAN HELP: Host a Food and Funds drive, volunteer to sort food, or run in the Selfless Elf 5k on Dec 19 Akron Snow Angels Help the less fortunate by providing them with warm clothing, toiletries and most importantly friendship, compassion and respect HOW YOU CAN HELP: Donate new lip balm and toiletries or gently used winter clothing and backpacks, or volunteer to sort, tag or distribute donations Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit & Medina Counties 330.374.0740 • Break the cycle of abuse and help promote peace in every family. HOW YOU CAN HELP: Donate food for Thanksgiving, or help Adopt-a-Shelter and donate cleaning products, kitchen ware or over the counter medication for Mobile Meals, Inc 330.376.7717 • Provide healthy meals and nutrition services to enrich lives and foster independence HOW YOU CAN HELP: Donate food for the pantry or volunteer to deliver meals, prepare food and more South Street Ministries 330.761.1992 • Unlikely partners taking shared risks to renew our community for Christ’s sake. HOW YOU CAN HELP: Support the Christmas Store on Dec 12 by volunteering or donating new toys, winter clothing and socks

‘...You never know when it’s going to end’ What it’s like to be one of Akron’s 452 homeless teens by Noor Hindi NOTE: At their request, the names of the teenagers mentioned in this article have been changed to protect their identities. As a consequence, no photographs were taken of the subjects in this article. Instead, we’re sharing photos about the work Project R.I.S.E. does. Sony headphones hang around Jamal’s neck when he walks in. He smiles big. When I ask him what he wants to do after graduation, he perks up. “Actually, I want to be a lawyer. I’ve always been a good debater and good at thinking on my feet,” he says. He begins listing his school activities, which include DECA, which is a program that prepares students for careers in marketing, management, finance and entrepreneurship. He enjoys basketball and plays the trumpet. When I ask how it felt being evicted, his posture tightens. His hazel eyes, which were animated moments earlier by talk of his future, have lost their spark. His tall, slim legs nervously shake. He stops meeting my eyes.

Summit County Children Services 330.379.1994 • Committed to the safety, permanency and wellbeing of all children served, in partnership with families and the community HOW YOU CAN HELP: Donate to the Toy Room, Adopt a Family, or donate grocery store gift cards ________________________________________ Editor’s note: Check out their websites for more detailed lists of needed items and volunteer opportunities. Also, all nonprofits greatly appreciate monetary donations as well!


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“It was really hard. There were times I’d just sit in class with a blank stare, just thinking like ‘What next?’ It was weird. It was scary.” Debra Manteghi is the Homeless Education Liaison and Project Manager for Project RISE (Realizing Individual Strength through Education), where she has worked for 17 years. She says 1,752 homeless youth like Jamal were identified in Akron last year, and the numbers keep growing. “Think of yourself as a teenager. What would you be without your parents? Without your home? How would you function?” Manteghi asks. Surprisingly, she says, teens like Jamal are among the luckiest. Of Akron’s 452 homeless high schoolers, 116 are considered “unaccompanied,” or lacking any parental involvement. Some of these youth get help from a relative, who can sometimes get temporary guardianship. But the reality for young people otherwise on their own can be heartbreaking. “We have a student living in a tent right now. We’ve had situations where a school counselor will find out that they’re staying in an apartment somewhere, or their car, or they were either couch surfing or staying at an abandoned building,” Manteghi says. Other times, a parent may be present but circumstances can force families to separate as they “double up” with others families for weeks. In a similar situation, Jamal was split from his mom and younger brother. “Throughout my 16 years, I’d never been away from my mom throughout all the stuff that we went through. The scariest part was like not knowing,” says Jamal.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 27.5 percent of Akron residents, including more than 40 percent of children in Akron, are living in poverty. Manteghi says that homelessness can happen when complicated family problems overwhelm the structure. “You’re going to find factors of mental health issues and substance abuse. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist on the other end [of the socioeconomic spectrum], but those people are more likely to seek out resources to get help. They can afford attorneys, they can afford to get therapists, they can keep their problems sheltered somewhat,” Manteghi says. Although school counselors are readily available and trained to help students in these complex situations, they can only use the resources available to them, which requires creativity. North High School counselors, for example, work with teachers to develop a support system for the students at school that help bring the teens back on track when their attendance suffers and they lose credits. “I think that at first [the students] are sort of closed off, but then after you build a relationship with them it’s pretty easy to talk to them. The other thing is sometimes they see we’re trying to help them as best we can so they become less apprehensive and more likely to come talk to us and ask for help,” says North High School counselor Brian Caperones. Because of their circumstances, many teens become mistrustful and defensive, so it’s critical that school staff and teachers, like Caperones, build relationships. One such student was Imani, who Caperones described as “a ball of energy” and usually


community and culture “boisterous.” But during the interview, Imani sat as far away from me as possible and provided little information. The longer we sat, the more Imani seemed to crawl inside of herself. She spent the majority of the interview spinning the cord to her white Samsung headphones around her index finger and avoiding questions. The room was thick with resentment and unease.

may be able to do something about it.”

“She was a lot different than I thought she’d be, but I think it’s a difficult topic to broach and discuss. It’s really personal, and they’re not trustworthy because of situations that happen,” says Caperones.

“I don’t really rely on anyone ever. I just don’t like to rely on people. [I] try to be there for myself,” Cassandra says.

Despite this, the teens aren’t unreachable and the problems, although tough to resolve, aren’t unfixable. Community members can donate to organizations such as Project RISE or the Shelter Care – Street Outreach Service Drop In Center in Akron. Project RISE works with school counselors and local homeless shelters to provide additional resources to displaced students. They ensure that students have bus passes, transportation to and from school and tutoring. The Street Outreach Center provides emergency care to students in the form of food, transportation, clothing, laundry and showers, as well as applications for food stamps, health care and housing needs. “It takes money to run programs, to train people,” says Manteghi. “The reality is that you have to have funding to have good programming, trained people, [and for] services to be in place. It’s important for people in the community to support those efforts, and if they want to help in other ways, get involved.”

Cassandra was the third teen I met. She dreams of going to Kent State University’s fashion school to become a fashion designer. When we met, she sported a Rubber City Clothing brand t-shirt, which seemed an extension of the way she sees herself: fiercely independent.

It was something she learned the hard way, switching homes and being forced to live apart from her five siblings—an experience that was “strange [and] uncomfortable” for her. While transitioning and facing homelessness with her family, Cassandra admits to needing support, but feeling like she couldn’t talk to anyone. Because of her shy personality and quiet demeanor, it’s easy to understand how tough it must have been for Cassandra to reach out to someone. These teens, like hundreds of their peers in Akron, are linked by their struggles and the obstacles they face, but they’re also connected by the hopes they carry for their futures. No matter what they achieve, it’s certain they won’t take it for granted. Ready with a lesson to share, Jamal says, “Appreciate what you got, because you never know when it’s going to end.”

Ellet just got a whole lot cooler with the addition of a new coffee shop, Artisan Coffee at 662 Canton Road. Even for folks who aren't in the neighborhood, their hand-crafted drinks and the atmosphere are well worth the drive. (Photo coutesy of Bronlynn Thurman)

// Noor Hindi likely needs more coffee right now. // Photos, inclduing those involving field trips courtesy of Project R.I.S.E.

Community members can also help by using their skills and passions to raise awareness. An example of this is Tyron Hoisten, who for the last five years has worked closely with Manteghi and used his skills as a playwright to alert the community. His last play, “This Is Life” was featured at the AkronSummit County Public Library in September. “Drama is a great way to impact and inspire people and get them looking at something that is around them all the time but they probably haven’t even noticed. I think it’s too easy to write people off and label them as thugs or this or that,” says Hoisten. “The ultimate lesson would be that there are young people that are in unfortunate situations and you


To donate to Project RISE, please call Debra Manteghi at 330-761-2969, or email her at Manteghi says they frequently need bath and beauty products and socks and underwear, as well as jeans. To donate to Street Outreach Services, please call 234-571-2807.

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community and culture

Giving Thanks to Those Who Feed Us:

How to Have an All Local Thanksgiving Dinner by M. Sophie Hamad

There is something about sharing food that is especially binding.

Health Food Store, including as much local produce as we could find.

This is why, eight years ago, when I had just moved back to Ohio and needed a sense of community more than anything in the world, I worked with a group of friends to start the Akron Cooking Coalition (ACC). The group’s mission was simple: bring people in the community together over food. One or two Sundays a month, Akronites would meet at someone’s home for dinner, and if they could, they would bring a dish to share. The dinners had rotating hosts, and they were all vegetarian so as to include as many people as possible.

That got me to thinking, how local can I go? In Akron, we are surrounded by farmland. I am thankful that I live in a place that has such rich soil and ample water supply. Maybe this year I can do an All Local Thanksgiving dinner to show my appreciation for the abundance of harvest happening all around me. Here's the catch: anything not grown or made in Ohio has to at least be purchased from a local small business.

The ACC is still around (check it out on Facebook), but I started many big life projects after that one (kids, marriage, university, The Devil Strip), so my involvement in community socializing has faded. However, my desire to eat with intention has remained. While I am no longer vegetarian, my family eats vegetarian/vegan and/or gluten-free/ dairy-free meals often. We’ve also become increasingly interested in the slow foods movement and eating local. Eating local is great for the environment and the local economy, but most importantly for strengthening the foundations of community. When we eat products grown and made by our neighbors, we are supporting and sustaining our tribe. I married into a huge family. Our family events and dinners often involve 20 or 30 people. It's a good thing my parents taught me how to throw a good party. Two years ago, we decided it was our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner. EJ and I got a big turkey from Mustard Seed Market, and we bought most of our ingredients at Mustard Seed or Krieger’s

The best places to source ingredients for an All Local Thanksgiving Dinner include the Countryside Conservancy Farmers’ Market (CCFM), Krieger’s Health Food Market, and Mustard Seed Market & Café. Farm Direct Turkey: Goatfeathers Point Farm. This farm has the most local turkey you will find, unless you are raising one in your backyard or hunting wild turkeys. The farm is located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, on Akron Peninsula Road. It’s a Countryside Conservancy farm. They also sell eggs, potatoes, honey and other various farm goods. Farmers’ Market: The Countryside Conservancy holds its Indoor Market at Old Trail School select Saturdays from 9 am to noon. The last one before Thanksgiving is November 21. This is the best place to get locally sourced ingredients directly from the farmers, unless you choose to visit their farms. Don’t forget to call ahead to pre-order your turkey! Turkey: Brunty Farms Martha's Farm Tea Hills Farm Pork (ground and/or sausage for stuffing): Brunty Farms Curly Tail Organic Farm Rose Ridge Farm Tea Hills Farm Simon Organic Family Farm Eggs: Log Cabin Farm Simon Organic Family Farm Brunty Farms

Turkeys roosting at Goatfeathers Point Farm in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photos courtesy of


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Top left: Winter Squash and gourds at Mustard Seed Market & Café in Highland Square. Above: Pumpkin harvest display outside Krieger's Health Food Market. Photos courtesy of M. Sophie Hamad

Dairy: Lake Erie Creamery Ohio Farm Direct Veggies and herbs (think carrots, beets, garlic, onions, winter greens, winter squash, pumpkins, potatoes, and sweet potatoes): Log Cabin Farm Morningside Farm Infinite Garden Farm Baker's Fresh Produce and Honey Breezy Hill Farm Red Basket Farm Martha's Farm Whipple Farm Many, many more. These are just some of the vegetable vendors at the CCFM.

Bakeries: Humble Pie Baking Company Gardner Pies Blue Door Café and Bakery // M. Sophie Hamad’s favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner

Apples: Huffman Fruit Farm Baker’s Fresh Produce and Honey Baked goods: Bread—Great Lakes Baking Company, Trigo’s Pie—Gray House Pies Krieger’s: Krieger’s takes pre-orders for Bowman Landes free range turkeys from Dayton, and they carry local pork sausage. They offer local dairy from Hartzler Dairy Farm and Snowville Creamery, and eggs from Whipple Farms. Krieger’s has a large selection of local pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash, as well as a wide variety of locally grown apples. They carry several brands of locally baked bread as well. Mustard Seed: Mustard Seed Market and Café takes pre-orders for Bowman Landes free range turkeys from Dayton. They carry Hartzler Dairy Farm and Snowville Creamery products, as well as eggs from Holistic Acres and Whipple Farms. Mustard Seed has a great selection of locally grown winter squash, gourds, and pumpkin. They also locally source many varieties of green leafy vegetables, as well as red potatoes and red onions. Mustard Seed is also a good location for purchasing ingredients that are not locally sourced, such as oils, flour, and spices. The Montrose location has a fantastic bulk herbs/spices section, and a wide selection of grains, nuts, and dried fruits. They also carry locally baked breads.

is, surprisingly, canned cranberry jelly. Don’t laugh. It’s so good with mashed potatoes and turkey.

Goatfeathers Point Farm 4570 Akron Peninsula Rd Boston Township, OH 44264 (330) 657-2726

Krieger’s Health Food Market 615 Graham Rd Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221 (330) 929-2929

Mustard Seed Market & Café Montrose 3885 West Market St Akron, OH 44333 (330) 666-7333 Highland Square 867 West Market St. Akron, OH 44303 (330) 434-7333

Countryside Conservancy Check out the website for Farmers Market dates, and try their search function to find out which vendors sell a specific ingredient.


community and culture

Spreading Warmth in the Community Akron Snow Angels at Work by Katie Jackson

over and invite them to share a meal with her. “I’ll pick up a pizza and spend an hour or so just talking to them.” It is through this personal connection that Victor has has gathered perspective on the experience of the homeless in our community. “They are looked through and ignored all the time.” What she has learned is that a small gesture can make a difference. “A bottle of water, a hand warmer or something as simple as a wave or a smile. It makes them feel human.”

“I’M NOT LOST!” reads the tag on a pair of bright pink gloves. If you’ve seen items like this pinned around Akron, whether on a bridge, a tree or at a bus stop, you’ve seen the Akron Snow Angels at work. Less than a year ago, Erin Victor was volunteering for a soup kitchen at St. Bernard’s Church where she found a calling she never expected. It was here that Erin saw first-hand the difficult struggle the homeless in our community face during harsh winters. “There were so many children there. And people just trying to warm their feet,” she recalls. “I went in feeling good about the community work I was doing, but I left feeling devastated.” Immediately following this experience, Victor went home and cleared her closet of excess coats and other clothing to donate. She took it one step further and posted a call to her Facebook friends, asking for a collection of coats and warm clothing. Word of mouth spread quickly, and with the help of her friends Julie and Michael Farris at Annabell’s, they organized a donation drive and planned a date to deliver the collected items around Akron. Each item was tagged with a note reading “I AM NOT LOST. If you need this to keep warm please take it. Be safe and know that you are loved.” After just a few hours, Victor quickly realized that this couldn’t be a one-time event. The need was greater. And from there, Akron Snow Angels was born. Last winter, Victor and her team of Snow Angel volunteers gathered warm clothing and spent Saturday afternoons delivering clothing, a meal and compassion to the homeless and low-income population in downtown Akron. Each humbling experience lead Erin to a greater understanding of what it means to be displaced. Specifically, that above and beyond having their basic needs met, the homeless have a voice: They need to talk and be seen by others. They need to know they matter. “We are on a mission to spread the warmth of heart,” says Victor. “It’s more than just giving a hand-out. We want to build relationships.” It isn’t unusual for Victor to pass someone that she recognizes from her missions, pull her car


Victor believes in the power of collaboration and has partnered with groups such as Archbishop Hoban’s Project HOPE for past Snow Angel missions. She welcomes other community groups to become involved as well. “Akron is a community that likes to give to each other,” she says, “and we want to spread warmth around the entire community.” Warmth is delivered in more than one way by the Snow Angels. In addition to delivering toiletries and clothing, the Akron Snow Angels set up a station with coffee, hot chocolate and a bagged lunch on each of their missions. One of the greatest needs for her organization is help with sponsoring food. “It’s a great opportunity for a book club or small organization to become involved. If ten people made ten lunches for us, it would make a huge impact.”

their Facebook page and to their e-mail list. Currently the missions are done caravan style, loading up volunteer’s cars with a driver, passenger, and supplies. “But if I could have any wish, I would like to have one passenger van and one supply van,” says Victor. Akron Snow Angels have received non-profit status and are accepting monetary donations to their GoFundMe account, or directly to their P.O. Box. All donations go directly to purchasing supplies for their mission and running the daily operations. “It’s important to realize that just because someone is struggling doesn’t mean they are worth less,” says Victor. “Everyone deserves respect, help, and compassion.” Mailing address: Akron Snow Angels P.O. Box 107 • Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44222

We couldn’t agree more.

We Get You ...

Akron Snow Angels is seeking donations of new or gently used winter clothing for men, women, and children, including coats, hats, gloves, scarves and boots. They also gather new socks, underwear and toiletries. Other necessities are sleeping bags, blankets, backpack/duffel bags, and large Ziplock bags. Donors can contact the Snow Angels directly, or take advantage of the drop-off sites located at Tangier’s Restaurant, Howie’s on the Lake, and One Eleven Bistro in Medina. Volunteers are also needed to go out on missions. Akron Snow Angels are planning bi-monthly missions beginning in late November, and will communicate the exact dates and locations on

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with easy road service request

Our apps keep you mobile. Download today. NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15 /

THE Devil Strip |


community and culture




Faded Flower

The Mayflower Hotel’s future remains in limbo, still waiting for someone to act on this $38M proposal by Jenny Conn

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

A faded flower on Main Street, Akron’s Mayflower Manor isn’t quite ready to be pressed between the pages of a soon-to-be-forgotten album of memories. Since 1973, Mayflower Manor has been home to some of the city’s lowest-income residents, seen daily, standing or sitting, some in wheelchairs, outside the 16-story, 450-room Art Deco building at 263 South Main. Residents are comfortable and relaxed in surroundings many have occupied for decades.

As Section 8 housing, Mayflower Manor is well-situated along Akron’s main bus lines. Safe and structurally sound, it recently earned a HUD Inspection Score of 93 out of 100 for its solid physical condition. Juxtaposed two city blocks south of the energetic Akron Civic Theatre and across from the RubberDucks’ Canal Park, the Mayflower’s diminishing demeanor is troublesome. As such, the city proposed a deal in 2013 to buy the property for renovation with the help of a $14.5 million


community and culture Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan.

Hotel developers to be more closely aligned with airships of all types rather than the nautical.

The proposed renovation would require “rehoming” the roughly 230 tenants to HUDapproved housing before turning the aging beauty into “a mixed-use development of office and housing.” However, there are questions now about whether the residents can or should be moved.

The opening celebration lasted the entire day with “Fore and Aft” declaring Akron “the airship center of the United States.” To prove it, at noon, roses were dropped from a fleet of airships and airplanes onto the Zeppelin Observation roof of the Mayflower. A dedication of the Pilot’s Room followed, while the Mayflower Log’s first two signatures were those of “two of America’s leading airmen.”

If it were to proceed as planned, the project’s total costs were estimated two years ago to exceed $38 million, which would include more than 290 jobs created.

That day, the blimp “Akron” was nearing completion and guests were treated to a visit to the Zeppelin Dock to see the airship. While there, they enjoyed “suitable carnival activities” including an airshow featuring a demo of the “autogyro plane.”

Those are just numbers on paper right now because the project has lost forward momentum, seemingly stuck in limbo after the abrupt May resignation of Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, who had championed the project as vital to the vibrancy of the downtown business district. The vice president of Owner’s Management Co. in Bedford Heights, which owns and operates Mayflower Manor, Jeffrey Breha says, “Discussion has been limited over the past six months.” A spokesman for Tober Building, the architectural firm that originally proposed the project, says no action is being taken at this time.

GLORY DAYS OF THE MAYFLOWER HOTEL On May 18, 1931, the Mayflower Hotel took her place among the glittering gems of Akron’s burgeoning downtown, underscoring the city’s prosperity. That same year, the FirstMerit Tower and CitiCenter (Akron’s former YWCA) were built. The opening of the Mayflower Hotel set off ripples of approval that fanned out across the nation. Although Akron was a booming manufacturing mecca, hotel, banquet and convention accommodations were so inadequate their lack had been noted by the corporate elite across the U.S. who made frequent visits to Akron’s manufacturers.

The Official Souvenir of the Opening of the Mayflower Hotel is catalogued at the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

Theo DeWitt As a result, many prominent businesses were enlisted to take part in building a grand new hotel. Representatives of those companies came to witness their efforts at work, through such amenities as the Mayflower’s state-of-the-art HVAC, fire protection, elevator and phone systems. The hotel’s modern refrigeration system was a system to behold, and made possible a cuisine that appealed to “the sophisticated, urban appetite” prevalent in travelers of the time. The Mayflower also featured a Rutledge Drug Company store, a Postal Telegraph Cable Company office for worldwide communications, a florist and a barbershop. Women entrepreneurs also found space at the new hotel. A hat store was opened by Roxy G. Lavery, an “exclusive milliner” who designed hats for her clients after careful study of their personalities. A dress showroom by Paula Leve Inc. was described similarly, with Leve exhibiting “an innate sense of the beautiful and uncanny knack of visualizing each and every woman’s particular style in dress.” All were on display when the Mayflower opened its doors for business. What more could a traveler want?

“OFFICIAL SOUVENIR” CAPTURES CELEBRATION The Mayflower Hotel’s opening was attended by executives from around the country, who were flown to Cleveland and transported by Firestone’s Tri-motored Ford known as the “Tin Goose” to the Akron Airport. Akron’s most enduring leadership also was in attendance that day, including U.S. Congressman Francis Seiberling, Firestone founder Harvey Firestone, Goodyear President P. W. Litchfield, General Tire & Rubber Co. President William O’Neil, Goodyear Co-founder Frank Seiberling, publisher and U.S. Representative Charles Knight and Akron Mayor G. Lloyd Weil.


C.J. Fitzpatrick For attendees, the hotel created a nearly 50page booklet titled, “The Official Souvenir of the Opening of the Mayflower Hotel,” which included the hotel newsletter, “Fore and Aft of Mayflower Hotel.” The booklet is indeed a keeper, as its pages are filled with drawings of the hotel, from offices and kitchens to dining and dance halls and the main ballroom. Also displayed are 24 portraits of the directors of each service area within the hotel To further engage the world, the booklet chronicles the tremendous effort that made the Mayflower Hotel a reality. Illustrating enormous pride in the construction, the booklet details the project, from securing a loan of $1.5 million by the Prudential Insurance Company to excavating rock and establishing footings for the foundation to installing window casings and hanging sashes. All contractors involved, many from Akron, are listed in the program, along with photos of the construction progress. Theo DeWitt , then vice president and general manager of the Hotel Hollenden, a luxury hotel in downtown Cleveland, became president of the Mayflower Hotel. C.J. Fitzpatrick, a distinguished Ohio hotelier, was named general manager. DeWitt, whose biography is included in the booklet, was “considered one of the most capable and well informed hotel operators in the country.” He issued the written salutation:

Later, back at the Mayflower, a greeting by Ohio Governor George White kicked off a dinner featuring fresh shrimp, salted almonds, “clear green” turtle soup, Mayflower Salad, new asparagus permasane (sic) and breast of capon. As the night wore on, dancing was intertwined with concert selections, and guests were treated to performances by Dick Fidler and his Neil House Orchestra, a national band and a favorite of Ohio State University students. When the opening day of the Akron’s new Mayflower Hotel came to a close, it was clear the Mayflower staff had indeed made Monday, May 18, 1931 what was proclaimed “a red-letter day for Akron.”

THE MAYFLOWER LEGACY Mayflower Manor remains a pillar in the South Main Street Historic District. In 2008, the hotel was a valuable contributor to the district’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mayflower still stands as the fifth tallest building on the Akron skyline. Whether providing shelter for Akron’s urban dwellers or undergoing renovation to bring back her glory, the Mayflower once contributed well to Akron’s growth and still, to its character.

I believe that in the Mayflower, Akron has an hotel which for its size is second to none in the United States. Its location is excellent, its layout, furnishings, decorations and equipment are the last word in modern hotel construction. Its personnel, from the start, will be experienced and capable. I feel that the pride which Akron feels in its new Mayflower Hotel will grow steadily as the years pass.

THE AIRSHIP CENTER OF THE U.S. The name Mayflower is a nod to the fabled ship that brought settlers to the New World. The hotel’s logo is a ship and its Puritan Room and Colonial Grill were restaurants. However, entertainment at the opening gala reveals the spirit of Mayflower

NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15 /

THE Devil Strip |


community and culture

new / native collected by Svetla Morrison


Name/Age: Sarah Chuba, 44 Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota Neighborhood: Northwest Akron Occupation: stay-at-home mom, president of West Akron Moms Club, board member of Friends of Metro Parks, general entertainment enthusiast for the under-7 years set Who do you wish was on more Akronites radar? Why? Marissa Lange. The most inventive music instructor I may ever encounter, she is also a terrific singer. I am a lackluster piano player, but I have 11 years of experience with four different piano teachers from my childhood. In those years, nothing I saw could hold a candle to the creative and engaging and effective approaches that Marissa employs. The energies that she pours into designing lessons are reflected in my boys’ enthusiasm for learning to play the piano. What is your favorite local culture asset? It has to be the Akron Art Museum. We all just went to a free drop in evening to learn the basics of making pop-up books. We met a couple originally from New York (Queens and Brooklyn) who have lived in Cuyahoga Falls about as long as we’ve lived in Akron. They had come from an event at the John S. Knight Center and were commenting on the variety of things they are finding to do in Akron. This event at the Art Museum fostered a conversation and a connection, (including a lengthy discussion about working with titanium and where


to buy it), that I cannot imagine finding elsewhere in town. The museum has increasingly become a place where I connect with people from all around town. The evening events, visiting exhibits, the Family Film Festival, the upcoming Trick-or-Treat, and art classes, draw people with a variety of interests in and have me engaging with both people and ideas that I don’t encounter elsewhere. The location just across from the Main Library creates a great central hub for cultural events.

an unassuming exterior, don’t be fooled. If a person has any doubts, try a simple croissant, you cannot find a better one even in France. And the people there are delightful. How do you think Akron will be different in five years? I suspect that the various neighborhoods will be more interconnected than they are now. Initiatives like Better Block brought people to North Hill who hadn’t spent much, if any time, there; Art Inside|Out has friends of mine traipsing all over the city; we have seen our downtown, just in the past five or six years, grow to be a more vibrant hub to draw people in from all the neighborhoods; even the Akron Marathon new route connected more of the neighborhoods together. I also think that the brewers in the city will have significantly expanded their audiences, we have some solid and delicious beer being brewed here.

When did you fall for Akron? During the Fall Hiking Spree. When we first moved here from Atlanta at the end of 2003, I came up first with some clothes, a coffee maker and no furniture. Our neighbors, John and Betty Dalton, adopted me and introduced me to the Metro Parks, the Civic Theatre with the showing of that year’s Warren Miller film, and a love of the history of this city. The first hike was on the Dogwood trail More locally, I am hoping that I will live in a house in Sand Run and I loved being deep in the trees with fewer Lego blocks on the floors. and the challenge of the climb. We have being exploring all the parks during the Spree since 2004, and our boys, ages 6 and 4, love exploring the trails now too. The kinder realm classes were among our first school experiences, and they are learning to ice skate on the huge rink at the Big Bend trail head area in Sand Run Park.


Where in Akron do you like to escape? The Akron Art Museum. I started haunting the galleries after our first son was born. It provides a sanctuary to clear my head, and now it has become an extension of the neighborhood for our two boys. Also, they always have a great soup in the cafe. Why should everyone try your local favorite restaurant? A person could travel far and wide and still struggle to best the fare prepared at The Blue Door Cafe in Cuyahoga Falls. The passion that is poured into selecting ingredients and marrying flavors is what makes this little restaurant unbelievably good. It’s

| THE Devil Strip / NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15

Name/Age: Karen Wilkie Edwards, 46 Hometown: Akron, OH Neighborhood: West Hill Occupation: Program Director, City Sprouts

gardening, canning, herbal medicine, edible landscapes, rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavement, sewing, knitting, etc. My favorite gifts to give and receive are always from the home and heart; homemade jam or soap, a handmade scarf, a bouquet of flowers from someone’s flower garden. I know the time and love spent in creating these things. What is your favorite local culture asset? Don Drumm Studios and Gallery. I work there as a sales person in the fall and winter once I put the gardens to bed. Don and Lisa Drumm have created a magical place to shop and work. They represent and employ many artists. Support local business. When did you fall for Akron? I grew up in Firestone Park, which was a very tight-knit and proud community. It wasn’t until I left that I realized how unique that was. I missed it very much. As much as I loved being a gypsy, I was happy to come home to raise my children. Where in Akron do you like to escape? My favorite Akron escape is the Towpath. I walk and ride as often as I can. Why should everyone try your local favorite restaurant? Chin’s Place is my favorite local restaurant. Elaine Chin and her family are very involved in the community. They also have beautiful gardens and much of the produce for their dishes come from their own gardens. Szechuan Tofu is my favorite. How do you think Akron will be different in five years? Progressive people make progressive towns. I love the energy that many of my colleagues have for sustainability. I see Akron being a leader in the local food movement, green infrastructure, cohousing, tiny house communities and other forms of sustainability.

What do you wish was on more Akronites radar? Why? Modern sustainability using old fashioned methods:


community and culture


Buchtel students take Project Based Learning to Panzner Wetland Wildlife Reserve by Daniel Whitaker Photos courtesy of Dana Starvaggi

About a quarter mile down a narrow gravel drive somewhere in Copley, Ohio, groups of kids are scattered about a 104 acre plot of land. Some follow a guide, hiking along the tree line of a dense wooded area. Others are huddled around computers set up by a vibrant green algae covered marsh. Lara Roketenetz, Field Station Manager for the University of Akron, is busy directing volunteers, students and teachers. This is the scene at Panzner Wetland Wildlife Reserve (PWWR) on a chilly October afternoon. For five days in early October, the wildlife reserve served as a unique classroom for nearly 800 Buchtel CLC students, according to Roketenetz. The Panzner family farmed on this land for 84 years. But in 1999, brothers Steve and Jerry Panzner decided to get out of the farming business. Rather than sell the land to a private company for a hefty sum, they decided to begin the process of returning the land to its natural state. More than 16 years later, what was once flat farmland is now a thriving wetlands and a sanctuary for unique wildlife. They had two primary motivations for choosing the path that they did: preservation and education. “This is about the preservation of a piece of Ohio, the Copley swamp, that is greatly needed,” Steve Panzner said. The Panzners also believe that education is vitally important to preservation efforts. Education leads to a better understanding of the importance of preservation and will lead to the development of strategies to better preserve natural environments. So, in 2010, the brothers donated the land to the University of Akron for research and education purposes. Steve Panzner is thrilled to see younger students getting a hands on learning experiences on the reserve. “When you’re bringing this nature to kids that haven’t experienced it, it’s really cool,” he said. He hopes that the idea will spread to other l ocal schools. Buchtel teacher Dana Starvaggi first brought her 7th grade class to PWWR in 2014 as part of the school’s Project Based Learning curriculum after being introduced to University of Akron professor Dr.


Randy Mitchell. Because of the success and positive feedback from the students that took part in that experience, the field trip has grown to include the entire school. Thanks in part to a grant that Starvaggi helped procure from the GAR Foundation, and with the help of Mitchell, Roketenetz and a handfull of recruited volunteers, the entire 7th-12th grade school was able to take the trip to PWWR this year. Students spend the day rotating around several different learning stations. Not only do they learn about environmental sciences, performing experiments at 11th grade teacher Colin Grindall’s soil testing station, but all fields of study were incorporated into the learning experience. Students worked on murals at an art station, were inspired to create music by the sounds of the natural environment and observed the natural land to construct stories about the struggles of survival early immigrants would have on this land at a station dedicated to language arts. The response from the students has been tremendous. “Every student has said something positive about the experience,” Grindall said. 11th grade student Michael Connalley enjoyed the microscope station where students searched for microorganisms found in the habitat. “We do learn a lot in the classroom. But this is a different. It’s nice to have the hands-on experience,” said Connalley. Starvaggi hopes that the lessons learned at the reserve will provide the building blocks for a bigger learning project. Students will apply the knowledge they gained to construct gardens and restore natural environment on Buchtel’s school grounds. Using mostly donated materials, Starvaggi’s students will begin building five raised garden beds, the start of a community garden space, this month. Starvaggi believes that with project based learning, “Students will become empowered through the process of working together and with experts and professionals to become responsible stewards of the land.” She is in the process of securing more grant funding to expand project based learning even further at Buchtel.

Music Festival Checklist üBring Guitar üPack Camper Van üBring AAA Card

Hit the Road & Rock on

community and culture

“Well this turkey ate a vegan diet, so you can eat him, right?”

Shut up and Eat My Gravy!

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast HIGHLAND SQUARE Live Music Schedule

Friday, 11/6 • 9pm - Midnight Umojah Nation – Reggae

Friday, 11/27 • 9pm - Midnight DJ Naeno – Electronica

Saturday, 11/7 • 9pm - Midnight Acid Cats – Acid Jazz Rock

Saturday, 11/28 • 8:30pm – 1:00am F5 – Classic Rock Roxy Moron – Rock n Roll

Sunday, 11/8 • 12–4pm DJ Ben Fulkman – Spinning Funky, Soul-Filled Vinyl Friday, 11/13 • 9pm - Midnight Ahinama – Akron’s Only Live Salsa Band Saturday, 11/14 • 9pm - Midnight Mo Mojo - Zydeco-based “Party-Gras” Band Sunday, 11/15 • 12-3pm Brian Henke – Acoustic Guitar

erts *All conc EE! R F ARE

Saturday, 12/5 • 9pm – Midnight AKJ Trio – Jazz Sunday, 12/6 • 12-3pm Brian Henke – Acoustic Guitar Saturday, 12/12 • 9pm - Midnight Sausalito – Jazz/R&B Band with Vocals Friday, 12/18 • 9pm – Midnight DJ Naeno – Electronica Sunday, 12/27 • 6 – 9pm Boy=Girl – Americana

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


| THE Devil Strip / NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15

by Ilenia Pezzaniti Much has changed since the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Instead of catching fowl and wild turkeys, most Americans fill grocery carts with large, headless, naked turkeys--later scooping their guts out, leaving their cages empty for chunks of seasoned bread filling.

Mashed Taters Gravy, Baby! Green bean Mushroom Casserole Cornbread Seitan Roast Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

If you’re anything like me, you wouldn't have eaten the fowl or the wild turkeys. You won’t even eat the headless, naked bird your mom brings home every year from Acme. But you will eat all the cheesy, buttery, mashed potatoes your Aunt Shari makes. All of them. And then you’ll fall asleep on the couch, belly up, nursing your greasy, artery clogging potato baby.

If you’re anything like me (again), when a recipe calls for any type of alcohol, you drink the rest of the bottle (so as not to waste, of course). I would suggest skipping this part because you’re going to be in the kitchen for seven hours, and by hour five, you’ll get tired of rewashing the measuring cups and spoons, and you’ll use your glazed eyes as “good enough” measurements, which is probably why the roast is Satan (not seitan! Also why I did not receive a 1/2 star more) and you’ll forget the butter in the microwave so the pie crust is a bit... err… crusty. But somehow everything will manage to taste pretty damn good. I’ll bet you’ll make the roast better than I did!

Except this year. It’s 2015, and we’ve got amazing homemade vegan substitutes for pretty much everything. Using recipes from famous vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Angela Liddon, I present to you a six-course (mostly) delicious meatless meal for those who get pissed when they can’t eat the gravy because it was cooked in bird juice. Let me first state, I am no chef but I enjoy cooking good food, and I’m the kind of gal who eats the crumbs lost in the abyss of her shirt (aka, I really love food). Without further adieu, I present my 4.5 star roommate-rated efforts:

P.s. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’ll most likely have most of these items already on hand, which is good, because if not, this can get expensive.


community and culture 2 1⁄3 2 2 2 ½

Mashed Taters Serves 6-8 Pictured on page 24.

3 pounds yukon gold potatoes ½ cup unsweetened almond milk at room temp ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil ¾ tsp salt (plus more for the water) Several dashes fresh black pepper Cut potatoes into small chunks. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt into the water. Cover and bring to a boil.

Green Bean Mushroom Casserole (these might look like vomit, but they're definitely not)

Serves 8 Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes, until fork tender. Drain potatoes, then place back in the pot. Mash them just enough to get them broken up. Add milk, oil, salt and pepper and mash until fluffy (I would use a handheld beater). You may want to add a bit more milk, if needed (I did!). Adapted from:

Gravy, Baby! Serves 8 Okay, beware: this stuff rocks! I’ve missed gravy dearly.

4 cups green beans (1 lb), fresh or frozen (ends chopped if fresh) 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 cups sliced mushrooms 4 cups creamy mushroom soup (one box) (Imagine has a great product, thanks Isa!) ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt fresh black pepper 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional) (I used it!) 2 tbsp vegetable broth powder (I actually used liquid- worked great as well) 6 oz can of fried onions, divided (I did NOT use fried onions and it still turned out awesome!) Bring a pot of water to boil for the green beans. When ready, boil for 7 minutes then drain. Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté onions in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for 7 minutes more (I actually ended up running out of mushrooms, so I didn’t use these! Still- so good!).

Please soak your mouth in the deliciousness that is this gravy. (P.s. I’m not even a real big fan of mushrooms, that’s how good this is!)

4 cups vegetable broth ½ cup all purpose flour 1 medium yellow onion, diced small 2 tbsp olive oil 16 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced and chopped (I only used 12oz) 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp dried thyme 1 tsp dried sage ½ tsp salt Several dashes fresh black pepper ½ cup dry white wine (Isa recommends chardonnay. I bought mine for under $4 at Mustard Seed!) 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Mix the flour into the mushroom soup until very few lumps are left. Add to the pan along with the salt, peppers, and, if using, the nutritional yeast and vegetable broth powder. Stir often for 10 minutes, until thickened. Preheat oven to 375°. Add the green beans to the pan and use your spatula chop them up a bit into smaller pieces (roughly in half). Mix in half of the fried onions (or don’t use them at all). Transfer to an oiled casserole and top with the remaining onions. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let cool for at least 1/2 an hour before serving. Adapted from:

Preheat a 2 quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion in oil for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and sauté for 5 more minutes.

Adapted from:


Preheat oven to 350°, line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray the bottom lightly with nonstick cooking spray (I would do parchment paper or simply spread avocado oil on the pan). In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk and the vinegar and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt). Add the oil and maple syrup to the soy milk mixture. Whisk with a wire whisk or a fork until it is foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together using a large wooden spoon or a firm spatula. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes. (Use a knife to make sure it is done- it’ll come out clean.) Slice into squares and serve warm or store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pie on Spelt Flour Crust with Coconut Whipped (if you do it right!) Cream Serves... it’s a regular fricken pie! Cut em as big or small as you want! Pictured on page 24.

I told you: I’m no chef. I also told you: I drank the rest of the bottle of chardonnay. This was the last thing on my list. The sixth hour in the kitchen. My favorite pie. I forgot the butter in the microwave (it’s cool though, it was only for the crust and it’s still edible - I just ate another piece). P.S. Make me the night before! Crust: 1 cup whole grain spelt flour 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour ¼ cup dry sugar (Natural cane sugar, brown sugar, or Sucanat) 2 tbsp ground flax seed 1 tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp kosher salt ½ cup almond milk ½ cup coconut oil, melted OR Earth Balance, melted (this is where I forget things in microwaves) Crust (1): Preheat oven to 425°F and grab 9-inch pie dish. In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix dry crust ingredients. Pour in milk and melted coconut oil. With an electric mixer, mix just until the dough forms into a few lumps. Do not over-mix. The dough should be moist, but not too sticky. If it’s too sticky work in a tiny bit of flour when rolling.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour with 2 cups of vegetable broth until well dissolved. Once dissolved, add the remaining broth and mix. Set aside.

Add wine and turn heat up to bring to a boil. Let wine reduce for about 3 minutes. Add the broth/flour mix and the nutritional yeast, if using (I suggest to use it!). Lower heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.

tsp baking powder cup canola oil tbsp maple syrup cups soy milk (I used original unsweetened almond milk from Silk) tsp apple cider vinegar tsp salt

Cornbread (insert heart eyes emoji)

Makes 12-16 squares 2 cups cornmeal 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Crust (2): On a non-stick mat or lightly floured surface, roll out dough until it’s a couple inches wider than the pie dish. Place pie dish on top of dough and trim the edges leaving 1-inch around the edge. Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and then unroll over top of dish or just flip the baking mat over with the dish on top. Tuck the edges of the dough under and then crimp/flute the edge using your fingers (see photos below). Poke

12 fork holes into base and pre-bake the crust for 7 minutes at 425°F, no pie weights required. Roll out remaining dough and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Cover dough shapes with plastic wrap. Filling: 2¼ cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) ½ cup natural cane sugar or brown sugar ¼ cup full-fat coconut cream (or almond milk), softened (I used almond milk) 1 tbsp Earth Balance, softened ¼ cup pure maple syrup 3 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) 2 tsp vanilla extract 2 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger ½ tsp nutmeg pinch of ground cloves In a small bowl or mug, whisk together the maple syrup and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch). In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients, adjusting spices to taste. To bake: Scoop the filling into crust and smooth. Add cut-outs on top. Bake for 45 mins at 350°F. Remove and cover crust edges with tinfoil or crust shield. Bake for another 15 mins. Place on cooling rack for 1 hour. Transfer to fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight. (this is very important!) Tips and tricks: 1) The dough should NOT be chilled, but rolled immediately. 2) Using full-fat coconut cream (from the top of the can) yields in a richer and creamier filling (I couldn’t detect the coconut taste much), but feel free to use almond milk. 3) The pie must set in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours before serving. The longer it chills for, the more it firms up. Retrieved (barely adapted) from: recipage/?recipe_id=6006095

Coconut Whipped Cream P.S. Make me the night before! This one is going to take some preparation. Get a can of full-fat coconut milk and place it in the fridge overnight. What you’ll need and do is all right here (she does a much better job than I, trust me!):

OK, for this Seitan (Satan) Roast, I would go directly to Isa’s site: seitan-roast-stuffed-with-shiitakes-and-leeks/. Hers looks so delicious and badass and mine does not compare. I grew tired and seitan is hard to roll out with a mason jar (I don’t have a rolling pin, ok?) The insides of this thing are amazing. It’s the outside you want to be very careful making. I warn thee! Good luck trying to not stuff your face with all of this. I’ve been eating Thanksgiving for days and it’s not even here yet.

NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15 /

THE Devil Strip |


community and culture

From Happy Trails to Happy Homes How a pig named Janice inspired sanctuary for animals who’d been abused and neglected words and photos by Andrew Leask

In the 16 years since she founded Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna, Ohio, Annette Fisher has witnessed firsthand the the scars left by animal abuse. But while she works everyday to rescue and rehabilitate animals who have suffered from cruelty and neglect, if you had told her twenty years ago that she would found an animal sanctuary, she would have said you were crazy. It all started with a pig named Janice. In 1999, Fisher, who had previously owned an advertising agency and a bridal store in Akron, moved to a farmhouse in Portage County. One day, at local tack swap, she met a woman who needed someone to take care of her animals while she was out of town. Fisher volunteered to do it. What she found in a cramped, cobwebbed corner of the woman’s barn would change her life. “There were these big brown spiders that looked like they could carry your dog away,” says Fisher, now 52. “And underneath all that lay this little potbellied pig, and she lay in all her own filth, her own waste.” The pig, named Janice, could not walk, so over the next few days Fisher did her best to care

for her. When Janice’s owner returned, she offered to pay Fisher for her service, but Fisher refused. Instead, she said, “How about you just give me your crippled pig?” The woman agreed. Janice passed away in 2007, but her legacy lives on at Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, which Fisher founded shortly after rescuing her. Today, the sanctuary has a staff of 17, many volunteers, and is home to dozens of animals—including sheep, goats, chickens and pigs—who have been seized from abusive or neglectful owners. Before Happy Trails came along, local authorities often had no way of handling abused and neglected farm animals. Though many local and national organizations existed to take in household pets, in many cases, authorities were forced to euthanize rescued farm animals, or worse, turn a blind eye to their suffering. “We saw this gaping hole that everyone was just walking around or jumping over, and no one was doing anything to patch it,” says Fisher. “And there were thousands of animals falling through.” Some rescued animals, like Kachina, a dwarf

horse who can now walk thanks to custom-made hoof extensions, become permanent residents of the sanctuary. These animals are involved in the sanctuary’s many community outreach programs, which include guided tours, educational events for children and local residents, as well as visits to nursing homes and schools. For most animals, however, Happy Trails will be just a stop on their journey to a new home. A condition of their adoption is that they will not be used for breeding or food production, or exploited in any way. One of these lucky animals is Vernon, a pot-bellied pig who arrived at the sanctuary in September. Vernon was found under a tarp in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had been stabbed, beaten with a pipe, and left to suffer for a week by his owner, who now faces charges for animal cruelty, as well as vandalism and domestic abuse. Thanks to Happy Trails, Vernon’s wounds are healing and he is in the process of being adopted. Despite losing his left ear in the attack, Vernon still trusts people and is friendly towards strangers. According to Fisher, that is often the case. “The large majority of the animals that come through us really respond to patience, to having a peaceful environment, to feeling safe and to having the experience of people caring for them,” she says. “They get to trust.”

How to Get Involved

Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on the support of private individuals. Here are some ways you can help:


The adoption process is straightforward and includes a home safety evaluation by a Placement Coordinator.


Those who cannot adopt but would still like to support an individual animal can do so through one-time or recurring monthly payments.


Donations to Happy Trails are tax deductible. Those who prefer to make non-monetary donations—such as feed or equipment—can find a wish list on the Happy Trails website.


“It’s amazing to watch the transformation and the healing that takes place, not only with the animals, but the people that work with them.”

Happy Trails counts on the contributions of dedicated volunteers. Those interested in devoting at least three hours of their time per week are encouraged to apply online.

// Andrew Leask likes reading and taking long walks down


Market Street. He writes fiction in the company of his wife, Amy, and their two cats, Monty and Nigella.

Annette Fisher and Odessa, a permanent resident of Happy Trails. All photos courtesy of Andrew Leask


| THE Devil Strip / NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15

To begin the adoption process, make a donation, submit a volunteer application, or simply to find out more about Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, visit:


community and culture

The Wanderer

Spice Up Your Pumpkin Intake words and pictures by Holly Brown

Hey everyone! It’s fall! I can tell because everywhere I look are goodies of various varieties speaking to the ever popular flavor “pumpkin spice.” There’s pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin spice cookies, and a whole lot of other things I would have never thought to slap the pumpkin spice label onto, but hey! Innovation? I honestly would not be surprised if I saw pumpkin spice dental floss before long (dibs on that idea if it isn’t real already…) Now, while I thoroughly enjoy a good ol’ pumpkin spice latte, if I’m going to indulge in some deliciously festive fall foodstuffs, I’m going to go for the unfamiliar, the intriguing, the thing that takes pumpkin spice and turns it into something more than just calling it a day with some cinnamon and sugar. This is precisely what led me to see if I could find components to create what could be an entire pumpkin meal, complete with both the savory and sweet flavors that pumpkin can sustain. One of my favorite things about Urban Eats (there are many things) is the fact that they have a

rotating menu, which allows for both the freshest, in-season ingredients, and also the ability to create seasonal delicacies! I am happy to say that Urban Eats has jumped on the pumpkin train, but diverged said train down a whole new track of spicing up pumpkin (see what I did there!?) As per usual when I arrived at Urban Eats, Liz was wildly enthusiastic and friendly from her everpresent post behind the counter. She commended me on my choice of the Pumpkin Waffle Panini. This sandwich is totally and completely experimental comfort food. It’s one of those dishes that truly encompasses everything I think about Akron in the fall: a badass sandwich concoction that mixes together all of the things I love about eating in a way that I would never have considered possible. Between two homemade Belgian pumpkin waffles lies a bed of cream cheese and bacon, honey and green apples, bacon and spinach. First of all,

Above: The Wanderer gets her fill of various pumpkin-flavored frozen kustards.; Right: Pav's impromptu stop worthy sign.

everything stacked together looked frankly so beautiful that I wanted to crawl right into that panini and hang out in there, but sadly I am not Thumbelina. Praise be to Jason, sandwich artist extraordinaire. Once I bit into this delicious pumpkin anomaly, I knew what I liked best about it: not one of the flavors overpowered any of the others; rather, the whole worked together, gear-like, to present something simultaneously sweet, savory and tart. The crunch of the apples and the bacon created the perfect dichotomy with the waffles which were big and fluffy. These waffles took on the actual flavor of the meatiest bits of a pumpkin pie. They weren’t coated in those hearty spices that have become somehow synonymous with the pumpkin itself. The spice was definitely present, but by no means did it overpower the pure, raw pumpkiness which I sought so dearly. In the joyful haze that was me post pumpkin waffle delight, I could only see one thing: pumpkin dessert. Where could I get the adequate happy ending to my feast o’ pumpkin? It was then that I knew: Pav’s Creamery. Don’t ask me how I knew that I could rely on Pav’s for Pumpkin Spice Kustard, but the stomach in my heart was sure, so to Pav’s I rambled on.

long awaited Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, complete with vanilla ice cream, except it was ONE ENTITY! Now, imagine that sweet pumpkin kustard but with real pecans AND actual pieces of pie crust. The glorious converging of two of my favorite pie flavors into my favorite dessert vehicle, ice cream? It would have been obscene if it wasn’t so amazing. It was wickedly sweet and buttery and on top of the rest of my feast o’ pumpkin left me with the closest thing to post Thanksgiving glow that is humanly possible. // Holly Brown earned the nickname “Punkin” from her father at a very young age. Perhaps this is the reason she

As I suspected, spelled out across their ice cream cone in the sky sign were two phrases that had me feeling oh so basic: “Pumpkin” and “Pumpkin Pecan Pie.” Not only was there my faithful fall pumpkin, but there was pumpkin PECAN pie!? After a rousing round of disc golf at Portage Lake State Park in which Ryan and I worked off our pumpkin waffle paninis whilst actively enjoying the warm atmosphere induced by nothing other than the changing trees, we were ready for the grand finale of our pumpkin induced day off: Pav’s frozen kustard. We got one of each the pumpkin and pumpkin pie pecan intending to share both. Of course we got cones and of course I covered my pumpkin in rainbow sprinkles because… sprinkles. The pumpkin kustard spoke to me in the same way as the pumpkin waffle. It had bones under that spice. The cinnamon was in the perfect amount, dense and musky providing a kick to the sweet squash. It honest to goodness tasted like the first bite of that


has such an affinity for pumpkin foods.

51 E. Market Street, Akron Open: Monday 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday-Friday 9 am to 8 pm;

3769 Manchester Road, Akron Open: Every day from 12 pm to 8 pm

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THE Devil Strip |


music and entertainment >>

Screening a Silent Masterpiece ‘Sounds of Madness’ fuses local music with silent film at The Nightlight by Bronlynn Thurman

The Last Great R&B Band

Mint Condition comes to The Tangier for a three-night stand by Roger Riddle

Mint Condition can be considered the last great R&B band. In 1989, legendary R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – members of Morris Day & the Time and producers for Janet Jackson – saw them play in their hometown of St. Paul, Minn. at First Avenue nightclub. First Avenue was famously known as the club featured in Prince's motion picture, “Purple Rain.” With a start like that to their career, it was only a matter of time before R&B lovers worldwide took notice of this five-man group. At a time when R&B was beginning to move away from live instrumentation played by the band members and shifting toward more producerdriven, hip-hop sounds, Tony! Toni! Tone! and Mint Condition were the last two well-known acts that stuck to the tradition that made rhythm & blues one of the most popular styles of music from the ‘50s through the ‘80s. Once lead singer Raphael Saadiq left Tony! Toni! Tone! to pursue a solo career, Mint Condition was the last band standing.

Lead singer Stokley Williams and the rest of the band are still touring and recording new music. Their most recent release was 2012's “Music At the Speed of Life.” They will be appearing at Tangier Cabaret for a three-night stand, Nov. 20 – 22. Tickets start at $45. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information , visit TheTangier. com, or call 330.376.7171

Mint Condition at Tangier Cabaret 532 W Market Street Akron 330.376.7171 November 20-22 7:30pm

Throughout the early ‘90s, they released a string of hit singles with “Breaking My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)”, “Forever In Your Eyes” and “U Send Me Swinging,” all breaking into the top 10 on the Billboard R&B chart. Then in 1996 they released the powerhouse ballad, “What Kind of Man Would I Be”, which reached No. 2 on the R&B chart, and 17 on the Pop chart.


| THE Devil Strip / NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15

The marriage of striking moving images and recorded sound has arguably never been executed quite as elegantly as in the silent film era. Melodramatic facial expressions coupled with expertly directed shadow play and eerie jump cut scenes created an atmosphere that was awash in a brooding romanticism unparalleled on today’s silver screen. In the 1920s, as silent film took hold of the American cultural consciousness, many musicians could count on these movies as their single largest source of employment. In Japan, this film style persisted well into the 1930s, sparking years of intensively creative pursuits by award-winning filmmakers and writers unafraid to use the experience of instrumental sound and theatrics to their benefit. One such film that emerged from this era was “A Page of Madness,” a visually sinister 1926 picture directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. The production was rediscovered 45 years after its debut and has since become a treasured underground classic among the avant-garde. Akronites can experience the visceral madness at a one-night-only event happening Nov. 7 at The Nightlight, as more than 20 area musicians lend their original work to complete the film’s score. The crowd-sourced symphony will feature the sounds and talents of musicians like THORLA, Unknown Unknown, G.S. Schray, The Beyonderers and Neon Tetra recreating the film’s original score in each of their unique styles. Jacob Trombetta, Creative Consultant at The Nightlight, has been tasked with asking local musicians to re-score various silent films for the past four years. He says all films have been affiliated with cinema – formerly Akron Film and Pixel – and an encore presentation of the previously screened silent movie, “Aeltia: Queen of Mars,” will precede “A Page of Madness” at 4 p.m. Nov. 7.

“The artists are given reign to do whatever they want for the score, but almost all of the submissions for past films have been instrumental,” Trombetta says. “Hearing the results of adding the visual constraint of the film to the composition, regardless of the musician's main genre, is always exciting.” Most of the contributing musicians, he says, have been writing and submitting original pieces since the inception of the aptly titled “The New Sounds of Silents” series, but this year features a few new faces lending their creative pieces to the aural collage. Each musical act was given a clip of the film running several minutes long, which they wrote and recorded music for prior to the showing of the film. The musicians, he explains, do not play live at the event, which he considers fun as they get to experience their work in public without having to haul in bulky gear like amps and drums. “They are all working toward a common goal — supporting the film — but they all approach the piece in a unique way,” he says. “There hasn't been a film score that I haven't been surprised by. We are surrounded by a lot of talented musicians in Akron.” As a seasoned musician himself, Tombetta says he approached the majority of the players about contributing their original work to the film because he has interacted with and enjoyed the music each creates as part of their own unique projects. He and The Nightlight crew have a few ideas in mind about next year’s scored silent film, but the final decision and details are under wraps, for now. “Sounds of Madness,” a haunting one-nightonly screening of Kinugasa’s silent masterpiece, will take place at The Nightlight Cinema Nov. 7 at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Experience the collaborative symphony for yourself on 30 N. High St. Tickets are $4.50 and can be purchased online or at the theater.


music and entertainment

Film Freak The SWING of a new semester by Chris Kessinger, The Film Freak ( (Ed. note: A while back, one of our hard-workin’ delivery folks was told they couldn't leave The Devil Strip at Wally Waffle anymore because we published something "bad" about them. Here’s what it was: “I’m in love with waffles but I’m not in love with Wally Waffle. The waffles aren’t special but the variety and the ability to order half a waffle is.” Though I personally like Wally Waffle and have continued to eat there, I didn't tell Chris Kessinger to pen this love letter to the restaurant. He just genuinely likes it. Which is the point: I don’t tell my writers what to think and I won’t censor them when I disagree. If I don’t let them be honest with their opinions, you won’t trust us to tell the truth… even about waffles. – Chris Horne

“SWINGERS” (1996) Starring - Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Ron Livingston The start of another school year had me searching through my DVD library for a film that represented an era of college life that might have passed by today's young students. The film I chose doesn't necessarily have

anything to do with curriculum—or even use college as a backdrop itself—but it is the perfect it feels like what going to college is like: Grinding through the week to get together with a group of friends for a Friday night of escapism and intrigue. “Swingers” was written by and stars Jon Favreau, who college students now might recognize as the director of “Iron Man” (or his cameos as Tony Stark’s valet in the films). It’s about a group of guys in their twenties, trying to cope with the big mysteries of life. Like how to meet women. Starting out in LA’s back streets and hidden clubs, Mike (Favreau) is down in the dumps because he left his girlfriend behind in New York when he moved to Hollywood seeking his acting fame. Instead, he found loneliness and after six months of dealing with Mike’s blues, his buddy Trent (Vaughn) and the other swingers have had enough. They decide it's time to bring Mike back to life. I really enjoy the film’s authentic banter, which feels like the kinds of conversations I have had with my male friends. There are plenty of hidden gems for women, especially those willing to soak in the “true secrets of male psychology.” The plot is solid and definitely makes the film work, but I think it's the character building between members of the group that makes it stick. The film reminds us how many different kinds of friendships make us the people we are. Trent is Mike’s asshole friend: cocky, fast-spoken and insensitive to the kind of “beautiful babies” (his words, not mine) that he hooks up with. But Mike also has a friend, another NY-to-LA transplant named Rob (Livingston), who is the caring type. He knows how Mike feels and is empathetic. “Swingers” makes the audience to choose who they identify with in their own lives.

If you’ve spent a long night scouting the hippest joints in the Rubber City, recover with a meal at one of my favorite breakfast joints, Wally Waffle. Wally's opened its doors in 1975, and it’s been offering great bang for your buck ever since. Over the past 40 years, this place has opened two new shops in the Akron area with A.M. domination on the East and West side. So what makes this place special? I adore any restaurant that doesn't stop serving breakfast just because your clock tells you it’s afternoon. For those of us who like to hit the snooze button, there are no restrictions—whether you crave an order of deliciously mouthwatering stacks of pancakes, or waffle combinations glazed in multi-flavored syrup from the breakfast gods above. There’s good news if breakfast foods aren't your thing. Wally’s has a wide variety of P.M. meals to grab your attention, from signature dishes like the Chicken and Waffles sandwich to some of the thickest burgers in town, like The Holy Cow. That should make you a regular to the Highland Square scene. Film Freak suggestion: I'm a morning and nighttime lover of food, so I will pack a tasty tag team to accommodate all readers. If the early bird truly catches the worm in your lifestyle, order the Churro, a Belgian waffle dipped in pancake batter, deep fried and topped with cinnamon sugar. It's warm and sweet center is perfect. For lunch or dinner? I love the Pretzel and Nacho Cheese, an eight-ounce beef slab on a pretzel bun, colliding with a combination of bacon and nacho cheese. Prefer something lighter? I recommend their Grilled Chicken Salad. You can read more of Chris Kessinger’s reviews at

Some little known facts about the movie: Mike’s apartment in the movie is the apartment the Jon Favreau was living in at the time. The film was made for less $2 million dollars—a phenomenally low amount, even in 1996—so the production crew struggled with staging scenes with extras and decided to shoot at real Hollywood parties that were taking place the night of the shooting. It's a shining example of rogue filmmaking at its finest. WALLY WAFFLE (two locations) 845 West Market Street • Akron 330-374-4915 750 South Avenue • Tallmadge


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THE Devil Strip |


music and entertainment

Act Like You Know

The Nightcrawler’s guide to a baker’s dozen of the best nights in the 330.

Sofa King Killer reunion show at Annabell’s with special guests Thelma & the Sleaze and Album Friday, Nov. 6 at 10 pm These sludge metal giants from Akron enjoyed a decade-long run, which included national tours and album releases on Tee Pee Records, Shifty Records, At A Loss Recordings and Retribute Records, before breaking up in 2009. Now, they’re reuniting for two nights—the first at Annabell’s and the second in Cleveland—with opening sets by Nashville’s Thelma & the Sleaze and Album from Rogers, Ohio. Elektric Friday at Thursday’s Lounge Two-year Anniversary Celebration Friday, Nov. 6 from 9 pm to 2:30 am Free glowsticks and Capri Pizza will flow like wine at Thursday’s in celebration of the two-year anniversary of Elektric Friday. And if not like wine then like whatever happy liquid accompanies the kind of fun you can have with glowsticks and pizza while dancing to this “fire local line-up,” which includes DJ TOK!, DJ D-Zilla, Werdna, DJ Bunnie Beatz, Nick Duve, Jay Whomp and Glydetime.

Preston Lacy of “Jackass” at the Rialto Theatre Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 pm The actor and writer from “Jackass” you most likely remember seeing in his undies chasing Wee Man down the street is coming to Northeast Ohio for two shows, the second of which is at the Rialto. He, of the prodigious bouts of rage, will be performing stand-up (likely fully clothed) as part of his Fat Chance Tour. Slide Jam at the Akron Art Museum Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 pm As if it weren’t enough that the Akron Art Museum took parts of its collection outside to adorn our neighborhoods, now they’re coming back to share what they learned in the process by giving the platform to six artists, community organizers


and business owners involved with making this happen. Slide Jam is a chance to hear about their communities and organizations, and what makes each neighborhood unique. It features Dave Massary from Akron Bike Party (Downtown), Cristina González Alcalá from Not Yo' Daddy's Mexican Hot Sauce (North Hill), artist and naturalist Danette Rushboldt from Summit Metro Parks, Brent Wesley from Akron Honey Company (West Hill/ Highland Square), artist and gallery owner Amy Mothersbaugh of Studio 2091 (Cuyahoga Falls), and The University of Akron’s NASA Robotics Team. JD Eicher & the Goodnights at Jilly’s Music Room with special guest Steve Everett Friday, Nov. 13 at 8 pm (Doors at 7 pm) This Youngstown/Pittsburgh-based quartet’s soaring and graceful pop-rock songcraft has garnered the group favorable comparisons to Keane, The Script, The Killers and Death Cab for Cutie. Nationally, Alternative Addiction named them one of the top 10 unsigned bands. They’ve shared the bill with Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Pete Yorn, Anberlin, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, Kelly Clarkson and Cartel. Their “Thanksgiving Show” at Jilly’s, presented by 91.3 The Summit with a portion of proceeds benefitting Akron's Mobile Meals organization, provides the proper showcase for Eicher’s blue-eyed soul falsetto. The Mighty Soul Night at Uncorked with special guest DJ Roger Riddle Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 pm In our opinion, this is downtown’s best kept secret, but we’re betting it won’t stay that way long. Started by three of Akron’s best DJs–El Prezidente, Ben Crazy and Forrest Getem Gump–it’s an all-vinyl night of music for people who aren’t afraid to dance to something they’ve never heard before. In fact, it’s a night of music for people who WANT to hear something new, especially when it’s old or overlooked by the mainstream. These intense record collectors welcome our buddy Roger Riddle, who you may remember from Porch Rokr’s Silent Disco, as they take turns digging deep into their crates for some of the freshest soul, jazz, Latin, disco and afro-beat ever put on wax. Then in December, when we publish the story behind the name of this event, you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

The Funky Knuckles at BLU Jazz with special guests Acid Cats Monday, Nov. 16 – Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 8 pm Know all those body-moving, mind-shaping, assshaking songs you love by Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, Chrisette Michelle, Talib Kweli and The Polyphonic Spree (to name just a few)? Well, the Funky Knuckles are some of the musicians who made that happen. This is about the sidemen coming in from the shadows to bring some soul-soaked jazz to the Rubber City with support from our own Acid Cats.

Judas Priest. Together, they’ll be paying honor to 30 years of Ronnie James Dio’s legendary rock career.

Nicko McBrain & the McBrainiacs at the Akron Civic Theatre with special guest Tim “Ripper” Owens and Son of Sam Tuesday, November 17 at 7:30 pm You may know Nicko McBrain the drummer for Iron Maiden, but as he rocks out with his own outfit, The McBrainiacs, he’ll show just why he’s thought of as one of the best drummers in the industry. He’ll be joined by Akron’s own heavy metal star, Tim “Ripper” Owens, the former lead singer of

Copneconic at It’s A Kling Thing House feat. Ola Mesa (Medina), Oops, Oh No! (Akron) and Wallcreeper (Akron) Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 8 pm (doors at 7 pm) (continued on page 33)

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


The seasons they are a'changin' so come to the pub to watch the Browns and enjoy one of our new fall pumpkin ales.


NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15 /

THE Devil Strip |


music and entertainment Before I knew it, world-renowned illusionist Criss Angel had "magically" appeared in Akron. As quickly, he disappeared.

r o F s n o i t s e Qu


The native New Yorker, born Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos, granted me a few minutes before the October 6 show at the Akron Civic Theatre of The Supernaturalists. (He was smitten with the measure of detail preserved in our 1929 historical landmark.) The star of an electrifying TV show, "MindFreak," which is now in syndication, no other magician has logged as many hours on television as Criss Angel, who also reigns as the most-viewed magician on the Internet. He’s also the author of the book "MindFreak: Secret Revelations" and his work has garnered accolades his contemporaries—namely David Blaine and David Copperfield—can’t match as winner of Magician of the Year, Magician of the Decade and Magician of the Century. His Las Vegas show "Believe" is now collaborating with Cirque du Soleil at the Luxor Hotel, and of course, now he’s the creator and director of “The Supernaturalists,”a show featuring nine magicians and illusionists handpicked by Angel to tour nationwide.


Prior to this assignment, I found YouTube videos of him plying his amazing trade. In one, he “ripped” a girl in half on a park bench while spectators’ jaws dropped. He shocked folks by walking on water in a pool at a hotel in Vegas and broke records for the amount of time he was suspended in air, submerged and shackled in Houdini's Water Torture Chamber in Times Square.

words by Christopher Morrison, photos by Svelta Morrison

A contemporary street performing illusionist

FRI., NOV 6 - SAT., NOV. 7

Akron's Hottest Showplace! Concert Series

Tangier the



Comedy Cabaret Presents

Emerson Lake and Palmer's Carl Palmer ELP Legacy

Lisa Lampanelli FRI., NOV. 20 - SUN., NOV. 22



Joseph Arthur


Holiday Stomp with The Walking Clampetts Special Guest Half Cleveland


| THE Devil Strip / NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15


music and entertainment accessible to the hands of smartphone swiping millennial, Angel doesn't often take breaks. But on his visit to Akron, he’s dressed for comfort: A black baseball cap, Channel shades, ripped jeans and a black and white image on his t-shirt. He was approachable from the very first moment we met in front of the Civic and very giving of his time. He never looked at his watch, even with the buzz of management before curtain call, or rushed through as we talked about his performances on the street and stage, the unexpected that happens during live performances—and magic.

in, or pull focus, you have to know how to direct and you need to get something together so that they can follow and understand, it needs to be done in a pacing that's rapid and keeps their interest. With television it's a lot easier to do that, you can cut time, there's music, other means to keep time moving faster.

"With stage you need to design something that's going to engross and consume people on an emotional level and engage them in a way and have them understand on what to follow; you need to connect with them on a very primitive kind of emotion and with stage you don't get a second time, you have to make the best of any scenario that presents itself during a live performance. They're completely two different mediums."

Christopher Morrison: "The first thing I noticed when I looked you up Criss, was what you looked like; I was quite surprised and thought, "This guy is 47? He can't be 47!" You are a very young looking 47 years old. What do you to stay so young and fit?" Criss Angel: "Well thank you, thank you very CM: "While performing has anything much. Magic! (Laughs) I think it's exactly that, unexpectedly gone south and you just to remain fit. For me it has been all about for picked up the pieces and winged it?" many many years of training, working out CA: “Absolutely, we have the element of surprise and eating right and I think also mentally; as performers in magic, people don't know your mental outlook in life is very important. what the outcome is supposed to be. So I I don't consume my life with negativity. The take full advantage of that and if some things outlook of yourself and your perception. I try don't go according to plan, which happens, to be a beam of positivity. I believe that keeps that's why it's called live performance, you you youthful-age is just a number to me, I'm roll with it. If you're really good on your feet still just 21.” and able to improv, which I pride myself in doing, not like other magicians who read CM: "What are the physical demands of teleprompters, or have scripted lines, I listen performing in public, or on stage? On to the public-whatever they're digging, or the street? I caught up with your mind not digging depending on how the audience blowing performances on YouTube, is interacting with me, so if something what's different?" doesn't go as planned, no problem I just roll CA: "Each medium has its own set of advantages with it, I've had fire alarms go off during a and disadvantages. Take television for performance, anything that can happen will example, you're able to have a camera and happen during a live show eventually" have that camera focus in on what you want the audience to see at home, and then you CM: "What's like the weirdest thing that's have the opportunity to get a chance to do it ever happen to you during a live again, again, and again. performance?"

"In a live performance, it's all about the audience's perspective. You can't zoom them

(continued from page 31) An “okay punk band” from Fenton, Michigan, Copneconic becomes one of the latest touring acts to stop in Akron thanks to the It’s a Kling Thing House, an ongoing labor of love of live music that gives the donations it gathers at the door back to the bands. As important as it is to give bands on the road a place to get some gas money, the Kling House also means a place for local acts to get their start. This time, it’s Wallcreeper, performing its first show. Medina’s math/prog rockers Ola Mesa joins the Rubber City’s Oops, Oh No! somewhere in the middle.

The Gage Brothers at Empire Concert Club feat. The Help and The Hands, The Baker's Basement, The Few & The Far and Iris Isadora Friday, November 20 at 8 pm Sometimes the lineups at The Empire are like a clown-car, except instead of fall-down follies in


CA: "I've had a lot crazy things happen during a show, I've had girls masturbating during a performance in their seat. I've had a girl flash

make-up and big shoes, they’re packing in as many indie rock acts as a stage can fit. On a night like this one, you’ll get no complaint from us as some of Akron’s finest are getting time in the spotlight. The Gage Brothers, an Akron-Americana act, headlines the show with support from gypsy jazz/ folk act locals The Help and The Hands fresh off their gig at the Masque of the Red Death, as well as The Baker’s Basement and The Few & The Far— both from Cleveland—and Rootstown songstress Iris Isadora.

Joseph Arthur at Tangier Wednesday, November 25 at 8:30 pm Do you like Peter Gabriel? What about REM’s Michael Stipe? It isn’t that the Akron-bred musician

me in her seat, drunk people in the audience, all sorts of stuff, you never know what you're going to get and that's the excitement I get during these surprise appearances. The Supernaturalist don't need me on the stage, they're nine incredible artists, and they're doing the greatest illusions out there, but when I go on stage and they go on stage you never know. And that's what makes it exciting" CM: "How do you keep your performances fresh? Looking at your schedule touring, it looks like you're booked pretty much back-to-back with performances." CA: "I do about 450 shows a year. For me there are a couple things that happen. Number one, I'm the creator of the shows that I do, and now celebrating my 7th year anniversary, which is about 3,000 shows in Las Vegas—thank you very much (smiles)— this Halloween. I direct and have complete creative control in all my performances, the Supernaturalist isn't something I had to do, it's something I wanted to do, so I've created these outlets that has allowed me to change, transform and evolve.

"As performers and artists we realize we are blessed to do the things we love to do. We're able to get on that stage and platform and give people what they want to see; we'll never have that same group of people in that audience ever again. That is what it feels like the first time each night, because we have a new audience and so we all want to give 110 percent, giving them the best experience when watching magic."

and the person, many times I do stuff and bug people out, and so many times I wish I had a hidden camera somewhere to capture that reaction. It would've been priceless. I don't go out there to solicit money with street performances. I brought in $150 million for the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. I don't have to do that anymore, so I've been very blessed. I didn't get into this business for the money. This is the reason why a lot of people do things (but) money doesn't matter to me. When you're focused on being the best at your craft, delivering experiences to audiences that they can't experience anywhere else, then the bi-product is money and fame. I never started to do anything because of money. To me, to do that you'll have a disaster." CM: "What would you be doing if you weren't performing magic?" CA: “I’d probably be a martial artist. I love that stuff. I've studied martial arts for many years. As a kid, I was just fascinated with that. It's like a chess game and I love that stuff, because it's very competitive and I have that type of spirit, or something in the line of that. Or a detective—something like that, figuring out things. My mind works that way when I see something I don't understand, I have to see how things work."

CM: "Is there anything different from performing on the street, and on stage. I mean do you just walk on the street and start performing?" CA: “Nowadays, usually it's ‘Hey Criss, can you take a picture, or sign something?’ Sometimes people ask ‘Can you do this? Can you do that?’ Depending on the vibes

sounds like either, but that they both love our native son’s work. Seriously. Whatever we write here would pale in comparison to guys with chops like theirs. Gabriel says, “When I first heard Jo’s music, his lyrics jumped out at me. I love his words, love his music. It’s great to see some of his best written work assembled. His words rattle and rumble and pries open the cage.” Stipe says, “Wow. Joseph Arthur writes, builds, paints, draws, and creates because he has no choice. It is our luck that he does so.” More luck still: Joseph Arthur is swinging into town from Brooklyn just before Thanksgiving and you can catch him at Tangier for this annual show. Tickets available online at (If you’re looking for a laugh, see if you can still get tickets to comic Lisa Lampanelli’s show at Tangier on Friday the 13th.) The Devil Strip’s Black Friday Family Reunion at Musica Friday, November 27 at 8 pm Who’s going to be there? What the hell is it? Wouldn’t you like to know? We’re putting together a real wang dang doodle for the friends and family of The Devil Strip, and you’re invited to join us if you’re ready to hang out with the kind of family

you choose instead of the ones you’re stuck with. Expect a low-key, casual event with live music and some laid-back, harmless shenanigans for an outing where you’ll probably meet a few new folks while you’re catching up with people you already know you like. Best yet, we’re raising a little folding money for a couple of the awesome local nonprofits featured in this issue. Roxxymoron at Highland Square Mustard Seed Café feat. F5 Saturday, Nov. 28 at 8:30 pm With a full horn section, tight vocals, great harmonies and lots of wit, Roxxymoron is as close to a party-in-a-box as you can get considering they’re all humans with full lives and obligations who can’t afford to be—and likely wouldn’t enjoy being—stuffed in a box. Seriously, don’t try that. What I’m getting at here is that they bring the party and it’s as easy as just letting them plug in. Boom: instant party. As an audience member, all you need to do is don’t hate fun. Be open to a good time and it will find you. You’ll probably even dance. Don’t fight it. In fact, get warmed up with the classic rock stylings of F5 while you’re at it.

NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15 /

THE Devil Strip |


music and entertainment


Bathroom Reviews of the Funky Truckeria and the Balch Street Community Center and three light brown cushioned metal-frame chairs. It's an earthy color combo, and I like it.

unisex bathroom to the left of the counter at the Funky Truckeria. One downfall here may be that, when busy, people have to wait for the bathroom — and there isn’t much space to wait in. However, I suspect that crowds will not be so large during normal daily operations, probably rendering this a non-issue.

Toilets and Tacos by Marissa Marangoni

You know what they say about Mexican food: Where there’s Mexican food, there must be a bathroom. I’m Mexican, and I can say that. I visited the Funky Truckeria in Norton for its grand opening. The place is an offshoot of the owners’ food trucks, Wholly Frijoles, which makes the most authentic tasting Mexican street food I have ever eaten in Ohio, and The Orange Trük. The brickand-mortar location does not disappoint either, but it does feature a different menu. The crowd in the small location was pretty sizable for 8:30 p.m. on a Thursday and visibly impressed at the wide-ranging menu of creative, fresh tacos.

Though the bathroom is small and plain, it is used well. Everything is as it should be: a working toilet, towel dispenser and sink. I didn’t expect to see the rusted sink handles or the gold fixtures because the main part of the restaurant has been updated to give off a pretty hip vibe, but these things did not deter from the experience. The two pieces of skeleton flair hanging across from the toilet caught my attention and did a little to tie the whole place together. I’ll bet the staff here will update even further as they settle into their new digs. With its impressive abundance of toilet paper and standard functionality, I give the taco bowl a 3 out of 5 toilet rating. Don’t go to the Funky Truckeria for the toilet, though, go for the tacos. Funky Truckeria 3200 Greenwich Rd. • Norton, OH (330) 208-0560 Pictured above left: Skeleton flair in the bathroom at

The toilets and sinks are nothing to brag about. They work, they don't smell, and the restroom is fully stocked with toilet paper and paper towels. The stalls are painted a surprising blue—a nice break from bathroom beige. Everything seems very clean for a gym restroom.

Bathrooms and Ballots by Emily Dressler

Join me, friend, for a fireside bathroom chat at the Balch Street Community Center in the women's restroom. We will be safe in this designated fall-out shelter. Maybe you go to Balch Street Community Center to work on your muscles. Or maybe you're in Precinct 1-G, like I am, and you come here to vote. Represent. If you're here to vote and you suffer from nervous bowel voting syndrome, the women's restroom is right across from the voting room. Sounds like Urine Luck, voter! If you're a man, just go outside or whatever. Or run for mayor and build yourself a brand new bathroom. Don't go in the pool.

the Funky Truckeria in Norton Photo courtesy of Marissa

I ate a tequila lime chicken taco and guacamole with red and green and white chips, and then it was time to get down to business. There is a single,

Marangoni/The Devil Strip; Pictured above right: Fireplace in the women’s restroom at Balch Street Community Center. Photo courtesy of Emily Dressler/The Devil Strip.

OK, all politics aside, I love this restroom. Three stalls and three sinks are to the right. To the left is an entire extra room with a gray fireplace mantel

“Sexy,” “Pig” and “Divas” aren’t three words that have likely been strung together or repeated so often among the Ohio music community until the mid-to-late 2000s. But fused together, they serve to represent the spacey grooves executed with such ease and coolness by married musicians Katie Mikita and Nick Gregg. Based in Kent, the musical force has spread its auditory beacons across the greater Akron region, becoming a staple of the local music scene, easily recognized by its unique name and remembered for its carefully and courageously executed amalgam of genres and ideas.


SexyPigDivas unveils new video and EP; Akron’s Relaxer opens by Brittany Nader


Their memorable blend of lo-fi indie and crooked pop inclinations has evolved over the last few years, as shown by the mature sound on the band’s upcoming EP, “Gods & Ritual Objects.” The recording captures a snapshot of the duo’s growth, as they begin to dive into the ambient world of dark electronics. Gregg says he and Mikita will unveil the EP at their final show of 2015. He describes the sound as “both dreamy and aggressive at times,” which listeners can experience live Nov. 13 at Stone Tavern. The night will feature the reveal of the couple’s hard work over the last few years, topped off with a video filmed at Bad Racket Recording in Cleveland. The “Live from Bad Racket” video series

| THE Devil Strip / NOVEMBER 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #15

The stall had a purse/coat hook on the door and one of those metal pull-down racks for your purse. I never use those because my purse is probably too big and all my stuff would fall in the toilet. There is a leak in the ceiling, but a gray plastic trash can on top of the sink was catching the drip. The steady drip, drip, drip. Luckily, the Balch Street Community Center has some future renovations planned, and maybe this leak is on their honey-do list. I made sure to ask that the fireplace stays. I don’t even know for sure yet which way I’ll vote on the marijuana issue, or which dude in a suit I’ll pick for mayor, but I’m going to figure it out in this bathroom. Oh me? I’m just here for the fireplace and the voting sticker. I cast 4 out of 5 toilets for this bathroom. Balch Street Community Center 220 S. Balch Street • Akron, OH 44302 Gym hours: M - F 5:30 am - 8:30 pm Saturday 8:00 am - 3:30 pm

highlights a slew of regional bands, inviting the audience into intimate live performances from each of the enigmatic musicians who are more inclined to fill outdoor venues and pack clubs full of dedicated fans. The Speedbumps, Signals Midwest, Reverse The Curse and Saintseneca are just a few of the bands that have been captured on film for the series, resulting in a truly Ohiocentric project highlighting some of the best talent actively evolving around the local community. “They do amazing audio and video recording,” Gregg says, “This is the first music video we’ve done, so we’re pretty excited about it.” SexyPigDivas released the clip on Oct. 9 and curious viewers can check it out for themselves at It’s an appropriate introduction to the band’s progression, and the live performance in Kent will serve as a full auditory experience, as DestroThis Place, Linear Downfall and Akron’s own Relaxer will fill out the lineup, tossing a diverse range of genres and sensory events into the night’s mix. Mikita and Gregg may be revered for their jittery, style-bending rock, but calling on musicians from an expansive range of genres will highlight the diverse cluster of music happening in the area. Catch SexyPigDivas and special guests at Stone Tavern, located at 110 Main St. in Kent. The free show begins at 9 p.m.



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The Devil Strip, Issue 15 (November 2015)  
The Devil Strip, Issue 15 (November 2015)  

Once again, we go all out on good eats, great art and Akron's creative culture. Along the way, we meet sculptor Woodrow Nash, interview auth...