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DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 • THEDEVILSTRIP.COM 10 Where to find 'The Next Akron' 14-35 'The Akron We Know' as told by 34 different people 17 How to know when you've hit rock bottom 24-29 A Shopper's Guide to Akron Made Awesome FREE




More than 40 experiences Huntington Bank fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight Free parking and METRO shuttles

New attractions Wesley Bright & the Honeytones at the Akron Civic Theatre Jul Big Green on the Mill Street Main Stage The Chardon Polka Band at the JSK Center

Saturday, December 31 from 6 p.m.-midnight Admission $ buttons available for at Acme Fresh Market, FirstMerit Bank branches and

10 Discover Downtown Akron Passports also available for $ 15 and include admission to PLATINUM First Night PARTNERS Akron 2017.

Learn a little about a lot from eight inspirational Akronites at PechaKucha

Returning crowd favorites Silent Disco is back and bigger than ever Dance the night away at Greystone Hall with Akron Big Band Bundle up and enjoy horse drawn sleigh rides on Main Street Goodyear Ice Sculpture Garden with carving demos and special appearances

Follow us on


table of contents

table of contents THE ARTS 13

Author Corey Sheldon gives us a peek into the Valley of Progress


Humans of Akron know art.



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


Humans of Akron recover, too.


Humans of Akron have culture


Publisher: Chris “no carny-handed mango man” Horne


Email: Phone: 330-555-GHOSTBUSTERS


Art Director: Alesa “doesn’t sleep” Upholzer Managing Editor:


Humans of Akron run businesses.


How can local libraries give your business a boost?

M. Sophie “Has Many Names, Wears Many Hats” Franchi Email: Visuals Editor: Svetla “The Balkan Comrade” Morrison Director of Sales & Distribution:

TJ "is in fact a Newsie, hat and all" Masterson Email:


The Editorial Team

21 17

Tired of department stores and shopping malls? Shop local

FOOD & DRINK Lead Editor ....................................................................... Lia Pietrolungo


The Wanderer loves Taco Tuesday


Humans of Akron like food

COMMUNITY & CULTURE Lead Editor ...............Katie “Miss Jackson if You’re Nasty” Jackson Asst. Editor..........................................Jessica “Spreadsheets!” Cherok Asst. Editor...............Ilenia “Our Short, Tired Garbanzo Bean Eatin',

WTF Video Girl Writer” Pezzaniti

MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT Music ............................................ Brittany “Sass Master Flash” Nader Entertainment .............. Andrew “Has a Mighty Fine Beard” Leask


Humans of Akron rock. And rap. And sing. And dance.


Super No Bueno: Floco Torres heats up the basement at It’s a Kling Thing! House

Staff Writers, Columnists & The A/V Club:



Adoptable Pets Blue Dodge was born in November 2014 and weighs about 65 pounds. This handsome man takes some time to warm up to new people but some yummy treats is the way to his heart. He shows potential with the right dog but also wouldn't mind being the only pooch in the palace. He also requires an adult only home. In his previous home, Blue Dodge did live with cats but he enjoyed chasing them around the house from time to time. If Blue Dodge is your boy stop in and meet this lovely pup today. Meet William! This easy going guy is sure to fill your home with loads of love! William is a very friendly guy who adores everyone he meets! William just purrs away in pure bliss the moment pets and love come his way. William doesn't seem to mind be held and even shows great lap cat potential. He should do fine in a home with children. He will also be happiest in a home without dogs, but he shows potential to get along with a calm laid back cat. William likes to spend his day rolling around in cat nip or bird watching from safely inside through a window. William hopes you stop by our shelter and ask to check him out today!

PAWSibilities Humane Society of Greater Akron 7996 Darrow Rd., Twinsburg, OH 44087 | 1.888.588.8436 | 330.487.0333 | |


THE ARTS Lead Editor.......................................Bronlynn “Space Kitty” Thurman Asst. Editor............................Megan “Oxford comma slayer” Combs Literary Arts Editor.................Noor "Nervous Poodle Poet" Hindi

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

Kristina “Urban Explorer” Aiad-Toss; Emily “Lady Beer Drinker” Anderson; Melanie “newbie for now” Anderson; Rick “Small Business Chronicler” Bohan; Holly “The Wanderer” Brown; Christina “no paddles, flow downstream” Dearing; Sam "Buzzkilling Feminist" DePaul; Michelle “The Camera Nerd” DeShon; Emily “Potty Perfectionist” Dressler and Marissa Marangoni, Bathroom Culture Enthusiast; Brian “Wemlo Twinge” Dunphy; Grace “Always Running Away” Ebner; Lois “Beautyscandal” Elswick; Kait "rice cake enthusiast" Erdman; Gabe “Softballin’” Gott; Dan “The Akron Knight” Gorman; Paul “I don’t write but I can draw” Hoffman; Jacob Luther, the Towny Townie Toonist; Hillary "Gets Lost in Her Own World but Reappears if There is Dancing Involved" Martter; TJ “Don’t Call Me Shirley” Masterson; Krissy "Someone make me a real fish taco before I go insane" O'Connor; Atticus “Wreckage” Pamer the absolutely real and totally non-fictional Georgio Pelogrande; Roger Riddle, Wears the Purple Pants; Amanda "That Crazy Cat Lady" Sedlak-Hevener; Lenny “Where’s Squiggy?” Spengler; Nicole “likes the way Akron sounds” Stempak; Steve “is not a zombie” Van Auken; Patrick “Pattycakes” Worden; and The Shane Wynn Supremacy; Scott "The Swiss Army Intern" Piepho; Ted "Super No Bueno" Lehr; "Awesome" Dawson Steeber ———————————————————— CONTACT US: Office ....................................................................(330) 842-6606 General Info Advertising .......................................... Distribution .................................... Website ................................................. Facebook Twitter ......................................................... @akrondevilstrip Instagram ........................................................ @thedevilstrip ————————————————————

The Devil Strip is published bi-monthly by Random Family, LLC. Akron Distribution: The Devil Strip is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. Copyright: The entire contents of The Devil Strip are copyright 2016 by Random Family, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above.

pub notes

Pub Notes >>

of color at this pool. One guy offered to pay for his membership on the spot. They were still turned away but he had a smirk on his face as they left. He was proving a point.

people, but I am of the opinion that in their social relations, the two races should be separate and that they should not have pleasure or recreation grounds to be used or enjoyed together and in common.”

The pool closed a few years later. I heard someone sued the owner for discrimination and he was ordered to open to everybody. He filled it in with concrete instead. As the great philosopher and theologian Howard Thurman observed, “Hatred is destructive to the hated and hater alike.” Sometimes it’s also instructive. I was a chubby, popcorn-loving white kid absorbing someone’s hand-me-down racism, unwittingly a participant in the ongoing effort to keep whites and blacks

The Akron We Know

apart. Estrangement is the aim of bigotry. The less we get to know each other, the less likely A couple summers after my folks divorced, Mom we are to see each other as human and the got enough money together to get the three quicker we’ll default to thug, bitch, homo or of us kids a membership to the neighborhood terrorist instead of sister and brother. Disunity pool so we’d have somewhere to go while she begets disunity.

wired to connect and cooperate. If you want to end bigotry, commit to community. One of my heroes is Will Campbell, a Southern writer and Civil Rights activist who abandoned organized religion but not his faith. Whenever

That might be the earliest recorded use of “I’m not racist but…”

he preached to the choir, the choir got nervous. In a 1984 sermon, addressing other activists about race in America, he said, “Whether we

Since the election, I’ve worried with my friends who fear that the threats against people of color, women, immigrants, refugees and

know it or not, whether we live like it or not, we are already brothers and sisters. Not perhaps, maybe, someday, if we be good boys and girls,

members of the LGBTQ community will be

but already. Then our vocation becomes to be,

made against them next. Or worse, acted upon. Over the past month, I’ve learned that the overt bigotry most expect in Georgia isn’t hard to

not to do but to be what we already are… be what we are by our nature, reconciled to God and all his creatures, and unable to endure

find here. Evidently, the President-Elect’s hateful rhetoric has encouraged some of our fellow Americans to behave in very un-American ways.

the indignities and injustices that are heaped upon them.” When you connect with and care about

Richard Spencer is one of those, a white nationalist who says he views Mr. Trump’s election as progress towards the “white ethno-

someone else, you can’t ignore their suffering. Maybe this explains why I maintain greater faith in potlucks and parties than politics. It’s why I

About three miles from my neighborhood pool you’ll find a shopping center called Baconsfield Plaza. It was named for Baconsfield Park, which

state” desired by the “alt-right”. Speaking to the National Policy Institute's conference this November, Spencer said, “We recognize the central lie of American race relations. We don’t

started The Devil Strip and why we share stories about the Akron we know.

I didn’t care much for swimming but I do love to snack.

once belonged to US Senator Augustus Octavius Bacon. He deeded the land to the city upon his death and it became the nicest park in Macon.

exploit other groups. We don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around.”

Akron we know. Inside, there about three dozen of the coolest, most interesting people we know. Some are women. Some are people

That’s what I was doing at the pool when three young black dudes walked through the gate. They weren’t dressed for swimming, but that wasn’t why they were being turned away. They weren’t members. Until that moment, I hadn’t noticed that despite our neighborhood being a pretty representative mix of black and white working class households, there were no people

However, a stipulation in his will allowed his family to reclaim the land after integration was federally enforced. His heirs sold it to developers.

worked. Half the thrill was the half-mile walk down our street. The other half, for me, was discovering Lance’s White Cheddar Popcorn. Even with the sweltering middle Georgia heat,

In his will, Bacon wrote, “I am not influenced by any unkindness of feeling or want of consideration for the Negroes, or any colored

That’s the lie of bigotry. It’s the lie of racism, misogyny and sexism, of homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia and hatred in general. We all benefit from each other’s presence. Whatever friction Spencer sees between races, I think, is actually caused by the continued efforts to keep us apart. Humans are

That’s what I hope you find in this issue: the

of color. Some are members of the LGBTQ community. Some come from other countries. Some are our editors and contributors. All of them are Akronites. All are proof that we’re stronger together. Take care,


About the Cover - Rob Jordan's "Dream of a Future Spaceman" A freelance illustrator from Akron, Rob Jordan currently lives in Denver, where he serves as co-curator and retail relations at Helikon Gallery and Studios. I stumbled across the full-sized, uncropped version of his “Dreams of a Future Spaceman” at the Akron Art Prize and it was love at first sight for me. As soon as I could get to my laptop, I searched for Rob, found his website and pretty soon after, he agreed to let us use his illustration on the cover, which is perfect. While we’re putting 2016 to bed, I think “Dreams” strikes just the right tone for those of us looking for good news in 2017. When you get the chance, you should look up Rob and his work because it’s all stellar. He’s doing Akron proud, whether it’s creating graphics for the action sports industry or being featured in several galleries in the Denver area. Recently, his love of visual storytelling was featured in The Society of Illustrators’ 58th Annual Editorial and Book Exhibition in New York City. You can find him online at and on Instagram by following @sexualthunder.


DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |









µ è

The Devil’s Dozen Picks for music events in December by Kristina Aiad-Toss

City of Akron’s 29th Holocaust Arts and Writing Contest Heads up, student writers and artists! The City of Akron has announced the 2017 theme for its long-running contest is “When Hatred Becomes Law: The Eroding of Rights in Nazi Germany 1933-1939.” First place winners and their teachers will receive an all expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. All winners will be part of the annual exhibit from April 17 to May 17,

2017, as well as the awards ceremony and commemoration on April 25, 2017. But take note because entries are due February 3, 2017. For complete contest information, visit the website at

W h e r e c an you see

s, typ es of l emur da g rizzl y b e ars an


µ UA’s TubaChristmas EJ Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St. • Noon & 2:30pm In its 37th year and you still can’t get enough of this surprising annual performance. Tucker Jolly conducts a gift to the community from The University of Akron School of Music and EJ Thomas Hall, featuring hundreds of tubas with special guest tubist Matthew Wilson, President of The University of Akron. Free for audience, $10 for performers. Interested in performing? Contact Tucker Jolly at 330-972-8301 or

Create holiday memories at your Akron Zoo! Event Details: 6:00-9:00 p.m. Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 22-23 & 26-30 Be mesmerized by a spectacular lighting event at Wild Lights at the Akron Zoo sponsored by Kay ® Jewelers. Event may sell out. Buy tickets before they’re gone at YOU’VE NEVER BEEN THIS CLOSE!


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12



30 g

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muggins!” and “You did it! Congratulations! World’s best coffee!” So if that isn’t enough, know there’ll be loads of candy, contests — Best Etch-a-Sketch, Best Costume, etc. — and prizes, firepits for warmth, and Thirsty Dog Beer for warmth and pleasure, as well as food and

the night before Christmas and all through the A-K, everybody’s tired of family and looking to get ...drunk. Or just to laugh. Lots of people like laughing. Like the people who go to comedy shows, which is what The Akron Art

Show is. This is round 2, so whatchoo gone do? (Answer: Go.) Crack up with your favorite local Artisan Craft Mead. ...AND you get to watch the movie. Admission is free, by the way. Details comics and test your skills on the dance floor when the live music starts, knowing all along at

è Grab ‘em By the Cookie, Pt. 2


Sat., Dec. 17 from 4-8pm Revival, 822 W. Market St, Akron Whoops, they’re doing it again! Why? Because you cookie-grabbin’ mofos stormed the first event and they sold out inside of an hour. So they’ll be prepared this time as you help them top the impressive $2,135 the Akron and Cleveland events raised for Planned Parenthood health


centers in Northeast Ohio. Get details, ask questions and invite your friends to the Facebook event at then use #grabmycookie to spread the word on social media. Just remember: Don’t grab anyone’s anything because sexual assault is not okay.

ê Trivia Night + Potluck Fundraiser Sat., Dec.17, potluck - 7pm; trivia - 8:30pm Hive Mind, 373 W Exchange St, Akron Bring a vegan/vegetarian dish, your thinking caps and some money for the donation jar. Hive Mind is hosting its very first trivia night! Proceeds will go toward covering Hive Mind’s

å John Cleese & “The Holy Grail” Akron Civic Theatre • Sat., Dec. 10 - 7:30pm This is not a test and it is not a joke. THE one and only John Cleese — Monty Python alum and Mr. Basil Fawlty himself — will be in the AK for an incredible evening that includes a screening of the comedy classic “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” followed by a Q&A with Mr. Cleese afterwards. Tickets are going fast so if you score one, consider yourself lucky! For details or to get your seats, visit them online at

costs and growth as a venue and safe space. Email or go to the Facebook event page, which can be found at, to register your 5-7 person team. Registration is $25 per team. Prizes will be awarded. BYOB.

you’re raising money for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, which supports youth music programs. Bring your extra big wallet to help them reach their modest goal of raising 130x as much as last year’s event.

‹ EarthQuaker Devices Movie Nite Tuesday, Dec. 27 • The Nightlight, 30 N High St, Akron • Two showings: 6:45pm and 9:15pm EarthQuaker Devices and The Nightlight present "EarthQuaker Devices: A Mini Movie" and “Goodnight Brooklyn - The Story of Death by Audio” double-feature for one night only. Hang out before/after the movie for an EQD B-stock sale. Check out the full line of EQD effects at the headphone demo station. Details at

ë GRADUATION: A Comedy Show Rialto Theatre, Kenmore Blvd., Akron Sat., Dec. 17 at 8pm to midnight

ï First Night Akron Sat., Dec. 31 at 6pm to midnight

ç Yoni HONORments

comedians Bill Squire, Alex Hirz, Jasmyn Carter, sketch group Pizza Money, musicians Nate Vaill and Darshawn Allen + many more. It’s also Mr. Weaver’s graduation day, so if nothing else, it

Woowee! We know where to find some of our favorite local acts playing on New Year’s Eve: Kofi Boakye, Boy=Girl, The Gage Brothers, Jul Big Green, Umojah Nation, and Wesley Bright

smART Studio, 678 Payne Ave, Akron

will be a party in Akron, the "Paris, New York"

Thurs., Dec. 15 at 6:30 - 8:30pm Akron Craft + Social Club presents an evening where you can learn hand-sewing FUNdamentals while creating felt ornaments that not only celebrate

of Northeast Ohio.

and the Honeytones, among others. Like The Akron Big Band. Didn’t know even know there

will benefit Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. BYOB. Grab Em By the Cookie will provide baked treats in the shape of lady bits. Registration is required. Register on Eventbrite, because space is limited. $25 event registration fee includes all supplies and materials.

é ELFcon Friday, Dec. 16 at 5pm - 9pm • Lock 4 Akron, 200 S. Main St, Akron Does it even matter what’s happening at ELFcon so long as you finally get to seize the chance to dress up like Buddy the Elf and say things to strangers like, “Don’t be a cotton-headed ninny


Friday, Dec. 23 at noon to 7pm • Goodyear Auditorium, 1201 E. Market Street, Akron

Plus 40% off All apparel for the entire month.

Weds., Dec. 28 at 7pm • Jilly’s Music Room, 111 N Main St, Akron Fans of events and podcasts like The Moth and Snap Judgment will feel right at home in Wandering Aesthetics’ Full Circle Storytelling, which has very quickly become a favorite for locals who know what’s

Chad Weaver’s sketch/stand-up/music/weird/ inanimate objects/art piece/experience features

the season, but celebrate and honor your feminine power. A portion of the proceeds

Beck - Odelay Jim James - Eternally Even Tribe Called Quest - We Got if From Here….. Social Distortion - The Independent Years

î Full Circle Storytelling, Vol. 2: Family Celebrations

up. This month, The Devil Strip’s very own Chris Horne will host this month’s event, which sounds like a reason to avoid it, but wait! He’ll share a story so revealing, so embarrassing and so shocking you are unlikely to ever forget it. Better yet, this event is free and open to the public. Details available at

í Crafty Mart at Goodyear


All over downtown Akron

was a The Akron Big Band. Can’t wait for that. On top of all the music (and inevitable dancing), you’ll find performances by Magical Theatre Co. and Neos Dance Theatre with a very special

Rut-row. Looks like someone didn’t finish their PechaKucha, plus the return of Silent Disco. Christmas shopping and you know certain death All this and it only sets you back $10?! And awaits you at the big box stores and national there’s a whole bunch of stuff we couldn’t list. chains. What ever will you do? Don’t sweat it Admission buttons are on sale now for $10 and because Crafty Mart has your back. Plus, you are available at Acme Fresh Market stores, First know you’ve wanted to check out how the Merit Bank participating branches, the Akron Art old Goodyear buildings are shaping up in the Museum, the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office, East End Development, right? It’s a win-win. the Library Shop at Main at the Akron-Summit Details on the full list of artists and makers at county Main Library, Lock 3, Angel Falls Coffee (And if you’re a procrastiHATER then holler at Cottage Mart in Lock 3 on Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18 starting at 11 am.)

ì The Akron Art Show Friday, Dec. 23 at 8pm - 11pm • Musica, 51 E Market St, Akron Twas the night before

Shop and online. Children under 10 are free when accompanied by a button-wearing adult. For artist descriptions, times, venues, map, food guide and performance schedule, go to

2721 W. Market Street • Fairlawn

(234) 334-7484 Mon Closed Tue-Sat 10am-8pm • Sun 12pm-5pm

the agenda

There's Nothing to Do in Akron


hand out, as they spend the “dollars” they’ve

Gesture, Form Line & Color: Exploring Contemporary Abstract Art • The BOX Gallery, 140 E Market St, 3rd Floor, Akron

earned on Christmas gifts for their families.

Fridays and Saturdays 12 - 5 pm; additional hours: Dec. 3 and Dec. 31, 5 - 9pm • This group show includes artists who employ a variety of disciplines including painting,

The Nighthawks • Jilly's Music Room 111 N

printmaking, metalsmithing, sculpture, textiles, photography, and ceramics. The BOX Gallery is FREE and open to the public during exhibitions.

from the nation’s capital.

Main St, Akron • 8pm • Playing and touring since the early 1970s, this legendary blues rock outfit brings the party to Akron all the way

Big Love Network Holiday Hullabaloo • Mustard Seed Market and Cafe, Highland

Friday, Dec. 9

Square • Music begins at 9pm • Free community holiday party with music from Zach & the Bright Lights with special guests.

Rubber City Promotion presents Contrive • Thursday’s Lounge, 306 E Exchange St. •

10pm • House and techno monthly show featuring Love Thang, Myster E and Justin Bailey. 18 and over. $5 cover. • rubbercitypromotion Gallery Talk - Glitter and Glamour • Akron Art Museum, 1 S High St, Akron • 2 - 3pm • Assistant Curator Elizabeth Carney will talk about two major works by Brooklyn-based HEY ZANE Album Release • Ohio Brewing Company, 804 W Market St. • 8pm • All-ages show featuring artists from the Akron music compilation HEY ZANE.

Saturday, Dec. 10

artist Mickalene Thomas. Free for members, free for non-members with gallery admission. Oddmall: Chrishanukwanzmadan 2016 • Cultureal Center for the Arts, 900 Cleveland Ave NW, Canton •Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sunday 10 am - 5 pm • Northeast Ohio’s most unique exhibition of art, craft and everything interesting.

New Year’s Eve in Akron Cottage Mart • Lock 3, 200 S Main St, Akron • Dec. 10 & 17, 11am - 7pm • Dec. 11 & 18, 11am - 5pm • Crafty Mart is working again this year with the Downtown Akron Partnership to expand its Christkindl-style market at Lock 3. Local artists and makers are taking over eight of the cottages and they will surely enhance your Holidayfest experience downtown. Each of the three weekends in December, Cottage Mart will feature an all-new curated collection of local artists and makers occupying the charming

MOONLIGHT opens November 18th 99% on Rotten Tomatoes // A landmark film.




wooden cottages. This event is made possible by the generous support of The Muriel A. Zodrow Fund of Akron Community Foundation.

New Year’s Eve Greenshow Gala Ohio Shakespeare Festival, 103 S High St, Akron • 8pm • It's been a big year for Ohio Shakespeare Festival, and they’re celebrating it in style this New Year's Eve with their first-ever Greenshow Gala, including their "Best of the Greenshow Show." Black tie optional, costumes encouraged. This fancy-dress gala will include drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres, mingling with friends and OSF company members in the lobby, DJ and dancing on the Greystone stage, pop-up scenes from the Greenshow company to entertain you throughout the night, champagne toast with song at midnight.

Christmas with Dignity Store • Urban Vision, 749 Blaine Ave, Akron • 8 - 10am • Help offer children an hand up, rather than a

The Best of the Greenshow Show will include your favorite sea shanties, drinking songs,



the agenda

Thursday, Dec. 15 CVNP Festival of Lights • Cuyahoga Valley Environmental, 3675 Oak Hill Rd, Peninsula • 6 - 9pm • Join the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park in celebration of the winter solstice by learning why many cultures observe days of celebration during the month of December.

Nights, EYE, Me Time & The Raging Crush Thursday’s Lounge, 306 E Exchange St. • 9pm • $5 •

Saturday, Dec. 17 Selfless Elf 5k • Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, 350 • Opportunity Pkwy, Akron • 8am • Put on your festive holiday-themed costumes or running gear and join the

DEC. 16th

5 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Daniel Horrigan, Mayor

fourth annual Selfless Elf 5k run/walk. $35 advance registration, $40 on-site registration.

Gallery Talk: Jimmy Kuehnle • Akron Art Museum, 1 S High St, Akron • 6:30pm • Jimmy Kuehnle’s sculptures, created from coated polyester and coated nylon fabric, inflate and deflate, breathing like an organism, sometimes even pulsating with light. The bright red piece he has created at the Akron Art Museum,

Winter Solstice/Yule Sabbat Ritual & Celebration • The Dragon’s Mantle, 962 Kenmore Blvd, Akron • 1 - 6pm • Drumming and meet & greet at 1. Ritual begins at 2 pm, followed by potluck feast and fellowship.

Poetry Open Mic • Uncorked Wine Bar, 22 N titled “Wiggle, Giggle, Jiggle,” engulfs the High St. • 5:30 - 8pm • Nervous Poodle Poetry museum entrance and stretches into the gallery, and Poetry in Akron host an open mic night. filling the space with a maze that can be 10 open slots: first come, first served. Signups explored and even touched. Admission is free. begin at 5:30. Acid Cats Return to Hoppin’ Frog • Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, 1680 E Waterloo Rd, Akron • 8pm • Enjoy good food and craft beer to the sounds of the Acid Cats.

Friday, Dec. 16

Winter Formal Christmas Party • Annabell’s Bar & Lounge, 784 W Market St. • 9pm • Annual Christmas Jam featuring Missile Toe, arguably the greatest Christmas band in the world.

Join us for the first ever ELFcon at LOCK 4 (located next to Lock 3 and behind The Akron Civic Theatre.) Wear your best Elf gear (hats, t-shirt or full costume if you like!) Watch the movie, enjoy The World's Best Cup of Coffee, eat candy, candy corn, candy canes and maple syrup. Stay warm by the firepits. Prizes for best costume, best Etch-A-Sketch drawing, singing and more. Admission is FREE. Thirtsy Dog Beer, Artisan Craft Mead and food available. Don't be a cotton headed ninny muggins... join the fun! Featuring

Thursday, Dec. 22

Brian Lisik and Get On Up! • Jilly’s Music Room • 5pm • Beloved local singingsongwriting rocker Brian Lisik is joined by the butt-shaking funk of Get On Up! Details at

Northeast Ohio’s Largest Holiday Light Show Open Mic Night Ugly Christmas Sweater Pizza Party • Aqueduct Brewing, 529 Grant St, Akron • 7pm • Wear an ugly Christmas sweater

Book Up, People: Akron Book Signing Square Records, 824 W Market St, Akron 6 -

and join the open mic fun, complete with pizza

8pm • Last minute holiday shopping

and craft beer.

(continued on page 12)

and parody songs (including a brand new one you'll only hear on this night!), as well as comedic swordplay with Folio Puckbottom and Bard Shakesberry. Explore the different ticket packages to gain access to even more exciting

First Night Downtown Akron • 6pm - midnight First Night Akron is Akron’s New Year’s Eve community celebration and features the region’s best in music, dance, theater, interactive and

perks, such as all-inclusive drinks, early access

visual arts. Admission buttons are on sale now

to the event (including a special cocktail with the actors) and raiding OSF’s costume wardrobe for the night. All proceeds beyond the price of food and beverage go directly into the Ohio

for $10 and are available at Acme Fresh Market stores, First Merit Bank participating branches, the Akron Art Museum, the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office, the Library Shop at Main at the

Shakespeare Festival annual giving campaign and are tax deductible. Tickets available at

Akron-Summit county Main Library, Lock 3, Angel Falls Coffee Shop and online. Children For more information, visit

under 10 are free when accompanied by a button-wearing adult. For artist descriptions, times, venues, map, food guide and performance schedule, go to downtownakron.

It’s a Roxxy New Year Jilly’s Music Room, 111 N Main St, Akron • 8pm Ring in the new year with Roxxymoron.


Doors at 7, music at 8. $60 includes all-night buffet, champagne toast, and a Jilly’s Music Room champagne flute to take home. Buy

Nuevo New Year’s Celebration Starting at 5 pm Nuevo Akron will have music and special food &

tickets at For more information, visit

tequila pairings for New Year’s Eve. Reservations required. Details at


Nov. 25-27 & Dec. 1-4, 8-23, 26-30 Deck the Hall Festivities 5-8pm

A Storybook Christmas

Over 850,000 Holiday Lights Decorated Manor House Nightly Tree Lighting at 5:30pm n Santa & Rudolph Meet-&-Greet n Animated Windows Gingerbread Land n Dazzle Light Show

714 N. Portage Path Akron, OH 44303 330.836.5533

the agenda

The Next Akron Looking forward and behind


words and slides by Mark Schweitzer

Ed. note: Mark gave this as a talk at the most recent PechaKucha Night in Akron. It's not just an excellent example of the reason PK has become my favorite local event, but it perfectly sets the tone for this issue. We who love Akron and its people have a lot to celebrate but we have a lot of work left to do. I think Mark does a compelling job here making the case that we will prevail. - Chris H.

hat I want to share is about how I see the world. Let’s talk about vision:

somewhere else. They were imaginative, hardworking people from other places and other

Usually, when we talk about vision we are speaking of being able to imagine the future. But I think it also means being able to look both

countries. For whatever reason — they were drawn to Akron. How many people do you know came here from somewhere else?

forward AND backward. We all remember Haley Joel Osment in “The

I’m also reminded that these people lived in a place with a strong sense of civic duty. One that

Sixth Sense” when he said, “I see dead

encouraged healthy competition but also smart

people.” Well, I see old buildings, especially the ones that aren’t there anymore. I look at old photos of Akron and am amazed. For example,

coordination, cooperation and collaboration. I ask you: what is so different, now?

if you look at the area around B.F. Goodrich about 65 years ago, it’s a marvel — the density of buildings, the sheer amount of activity that must be going on in those streets. But most all of those buildings are gone. It makes me shake my head.

What all of this tells me is that the patterns and formulas for greatness don’t change. Only the faces do. Just look at some of the Akron business and creative leaders of yesteryear – and today. If you’ve study Akron’s past, you may have read about some of these people in our history books.

Now, the fact that so little is left is stunning to me. In most other Midwestern cities, a lot of these old buildings—these ghosts of the past—are still there. But then, Akron is not and never has been like most other Midwestern,

“We are knockin’ it out of the park. It can’t get any better than this.” But we know better, right? Akron was just getting started.

rebuilding demolishing and rebuilding again – for better or for worse. As an example, think of the spot at Wallhaven that was home to the West Point Market. When the new Whole

I am also sure that, in the future, more books about the history of Akron and Summit County will be written. Let me say without a doubt, there are people you know—friends, neighbors,

post-industrial cities. For most of our history, we Books have called Akron “The Rubber Industry’s preferred to tear shit down. Rome”. As you look around at the greater Akron Area there is plenty of evidence for I’ve always loved the concept of Urban this. The Rubber Bowl, a mighty, ruined sports Archaeology. I look at a place and wonder facility, is our Coliseum. The Airdock, a marvel

Foods store is completed, I will have seen three different buildings on this site — in my own lifetime. How many other cities have passed through so many waves of change to transform themselves into something totally new? We are

co-workers, fellow artists and activists, including some of the people you read about here in The Devil Strip—who will be in those books.

“What was there before?” Sometimes there are clues. Sometimes you have to dig through old

still doing it.

Entrepreneurs. Artists. Creators. Software Coders. Poets and writers. Community leaders.

Now, this eye on the past is important to me, not because I like to dwell there, or keep reminding myself “how great things used

Above all, we have the thing we need MOST of all, and that is DREAMERS.

to be.”

The French historian and political leader Jean Jaures said, “Take from the altars of the past the fire -- not the ashes.” It’s great to appreciate the Old Akron. But look around today and what will you see? You’ll see the faces of the people who are going to create The Next Akron.

of engineering, built with no visible means of support, could be our version of The Pantheon.

books, old photo collections, old city directories. The stately, reclaimed brick and stone arches But sometimes, I’ve discovered you don’t have found on the U of A campus remind one of the to dig at all. Arch of Constantine. For example, I was checking out the Better

The point is, go to Rome and you won’t find

Block event in Middlebury this summer. I parked in Dave’s parking lot. Years ago, this spot was home to a huge clay sewer pipe factory. So I go walking over there and what do I find on the ground? An old piece of clay pipe. Seriously, I

one true Roman who doesn’t look upon their own landmarks and feel pride. Even after two millennia, they still speak to — and about — every Roman. Even today.

That’s not the point.

could have tripped over it.

How much closer are we to our own great

people at the just right time.

As I mentioned in an article I wrote in October, the clay product and cereal industries – these are Akron’s ancient empires. We only find

achievements? A half-century is just a blink of an eye — 50 years, a speed bump. How do these achievements speak to us? What do they say about Akron and the people who live here?

Many of these achievements were built upon smarts, hard work, creativity. And we have plenty of that in in Akron today, am I

traces now. An old coal pit. An old garage made of clay tiles. Some pieces of these empires are visible, others are found under later development. Like ancient Troy, they lie buried under all the things that came after. Now, if you lived in Akron around 1900 people were probably saying to themselves:


What it does is remind me that many of these past achievements were the result of happy accidents. It was about Akron having the right

right? Look around at the next event where We tend to think about this history and feel a sense of loss. I think we need a need a broader, longer term perspective.

our creative people, our leaders and our entrepreneurs are gathered and you’ll know this is true.

Akron really is one of the most unique and fascinating cities in America. No other city our size has seen so much building, demolishing,

It’s also important to reflect on the fact that many of these achievements were brought about by outsiders who came here from

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

Look around our community. We have

// Mark Schweitzer is a lifelong resident of Akron, who published a novel, “The Steadfast”, in 2002. With 30 years experience in advertising, marketing and public relations as a copywriter, account executive and creative director, Mark also designs and publishes books via his American Biblioverken imprint. He maintains three blogs about some of his favorite subjects: historical architecture, beer and Akron history. Currently Mark works at FirstEnergy and resides in Ellet, where he enjoys watching airplanes fly overhead, getting ice cream at Strickland’s and watching the Rubber Bowl become a worthy and picturesque ruin.


the agenda

Akron-Americans Abroad Being overseas with the eyes of the world on the 2016 Presidential Election as told to Chris Horne Being an American abroad can be odd at any time, but for some of our Akron friends who are currently traveling overseas, that sometimes strange experience blossomed into something more surreal as they watched from afar as the unexpected results of the 2016 Presidential Election became reality. Here our friends Stephanie Baker, a devoted member of the Akron Pizza Task Force who is currently teaching in France, and Josiah Sprague, a JavaScript engineer on a year-long globetrotting adventure, share their experience leading up to and following the election. There’s still some processing they must get through. As Stephanie writes, “I can’t really believe what happened, and while European news is reporting on it, I feel a distance. It’s almost as if this is all a crazy dream.” - Chris H.



LIKE THERE RIGHT NOW? Stephanie Baker: I live and work in Le Mans; it’s a small city to the west of Paris. Everyone here is in shock about the results. No one here

LIKE IN FOUR YEARS? Stephanie: I really can’t imagine what will happen. Josiah: Hopefully we've managed to avoid

thought Trump could possibly win. Everyone understands that we live in a global society where this will have repercussions throughout

any major wars, and we haven't rolled back 50 years of social progress toward equality. I think people will be more angry about inequality, and

the world. There aren't many Americans in my city, and I frequently asked what I think about the election and what my friends and family are saying back in Akron.

I hope we're able to channel that anger into building a more equal world with life, liberty and justice for everyone.

Josiah Sprague: I'm in Indonesia surrounded by travelers from Canada, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Pakistan. Appropriately, there was an ominous thunderstorm rolling in yesterday as we watched the election results come in. Yesterday, Indonesians offered to

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS TO PEOPLE WHO FEEL MARGINALIZED OR ENDANGERED BY THE RESULTS? Stephanie: The results reflect the anger that everyone is feeling. I think that we are seeing the same things in other countries. Brexit is also

marry me so I can have Indonesian citizenship as a consolation prize. Canadians told me that moving to their country is a privilege, not a consolation prize. The Swiss did a great job of remaining neutral. The Swede lost $10k on a

a result of people voting to disrupt the system, and the same anger is present in France, too. Josiah: I don't want to offer an explanation. All I want to offer is my solidarity with the people and communities who have been overlooked.

bet, and was more positive and talkative that

Though our country has chosen to overlook

I was. The Austrian reminded me that he was born within 30 minutes of the Iron Curtain. And I spent the afternoon getting drunk with the Pakistani and trying to find some ray of

them, I will not overlook them, and I will continue to work for a world where people and communities are not overlooked. As far as why I think this happened, I think it boils down to

hope, realizing that the only consequences to me personally are hurt feelings while for her,

a lack of empathy. We need to become more familiar with people who are different than us,

and a large percentage of Americans and good people around the world, tangible suffering will come from this result.

and cultivate shared values.

Visit to track your bus in real time! You can also set up alerts for routes you ride.

Nov. 25th – Feb. 20th

Daniel Horrigan, Mayor


Stephanie: I am not sure there is a silver lining. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE RESULTS IN OHIO The best I can hope for is that this is the end of — NOT NECESSARILY SUMMIT CO. — WHAT the two-party system because it’s what caused DO YOU FEEL? Stephanie: I look at the results in Ohio, and in the whole country, and I am reminded of the fact that people constantly vote against their

this. In order to appeal broadly, the parties aren’t representing the majority of people. Voting for a third party shouldn’t be considered throwing away a vote; choosing a candidate to

own interests. Ohio is a rural state, but I had best represent your interests is the point. We hoped that people would look past single issues should look to Maine; they just voted for the and vote for the good of everyone. Josiah: Betrayed. Not surprised, in retrospect. Most Ohioans I know, and in Akron and

ability to rank their candidates. Josiah: I think the silver lining is that young people did not support Trump. Trump's America

Summit County, did not vote for Trump. But I now see that I am much more disconnected

is not the future of America. I hope that in four years, we can cultivate more empathy and care

from rural Ohio than I realized.

for people who aren't in the same demographic as us.


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the agenda

Akron HERstory:


Shirla R McClain

by Sydnie Barnette

By Ilenia Pezzaniti

Shirla R. McClain is such a badass, she has her own Wikipedia page. An Aquarius, only born three days and 55 years before me, baby Shirla was birthed on February 4, 1935.

Local musician’s first-person account of joining water protectors in North Dakota


n late August, the little information my dad and I had of the pipeline and happenings

one in the morning. I go out to Costco every few days and bring back food,” Sam said.

in North Dakota came from small local and independent news articles reposted by our more socially aware friends on Facebook. Soon

We ventured to the main camp around dusk. A donation of $2000 was being made to the

we found ourselves passing through North Dakota to join the Standing Rock Sioux water protectors.

Standing Rock Sioux camp. A truck was parked with the gift of a beautifully painted totem pole

At a point down Highway 6, we ran into police blocking the road. We assumed they were trying to mitigate access to the camp, but we

after dinner to make an announcement. He reminded us to remain in a constant state of

sent by a tribe from Washington. The sense of solidarity was amazing. A man got on the PA

Shirla was a big deal here in Akron. And in our need, especially with the current election, Shirla continues to be a pioneer for minority recognition, equality, and leadership in the African American history of Akron, even in her death, as both a champion of race and gender. Shirla earned her PhD in 1975. Her dissertation, “The Contributions of Blacks in Akron: 1825-1975,” was published as a book and and widely used by those studying African American history in Akron. It became her mission to tell the story of African Americans in the city. She graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate in education. She became a teacher, working with Headstart, elementary and secondary students, and eventually became a professor at Kent State University and Walsh University. Shirla went on to publish over 15 articles and 45 academic papers. In 1994, the University of Akron honored her with an Alumni Honor Award for Excellence in Professional Achievement. Not only was she a ninja at education, she was also an activist. She pushed for Black History curriculum in Akron Public Schools, and her dissertation/book inspired a gallery on Akron’s Black History. The Gallery of Akron’s Black History opened in 1994, with Shirla serving as a co-chair of the gallery’s endowment campaign. She and the committee collected artifacts and historical documents. In 1997, the gallery opened its first exhibit, “Blacks in Education.” That same year, Shirla passed away from adrenal gland cancer, and the gallery was renamed in her honor. At her funeral, she was remembered in high regards. Reverend Ronald Fowler of Arlington Church of God called her “a tremendous giant in our community,” furthering his respect and admiration of Shirla by adding, “She taught us to believe in ourselves, in our potential as people, to make contributions to the broader community and to

later learned they were blocking the main route to the reservation’s casino in an attempt to reduce traffic to their main source of income. The police sent us down an adjacent road and eventually we came upon a prayer camp. Two friendly teens with walkie-talkies greeted us at the gate and gave us a run-down of the rules, main information and medic tents down by the fire pit. No drugs or alcohol. Respect the camp, protectors and the earth, and don’t forget to remain in a constant state of prayer.

to peace. gan unpacking our tent, almost instantaneously we were met by protectors. Did we need help with our tent? Were we hungry? When had we gotten in? There was a real sense of camaraderie. We learned that many protectors had been there for over a month, others just a few days. All were eager to offer us any support they could.

That was when we met a man named Sam from Seattle, who was representing his tribe from Hawaii. Sam had stopped by with his solidarity with Standing Rock. Dad and I parked family. He said they'd come without knowing at the end of a row of teepees and tents. Imme- what to expect, because of such little media attention, they relied mostly diately we strapped on our cameras and took on word-of-mouth for their off to photograph everything we could. information. They showed up just wanting to help. They'd found a A man on a horse who had an air of authority purpose though, and intended

approached us. He was patient and kind as he explained that we should ask for permission before taking photographs of anyone or anything.

to stay for as long as there were mouths to feed.

“Oh,” he told us, “and don’t forget to zip your

“We cook breakfast for every-

(continued from page 10) opportunity: meet four Akron-area authors and purchase their books. Cory Michael Sheldon,

The Brothers Band EP Release w/ Acid

DX Ferris, Ann Otto and Joanna Wilson will be there to sign books.

Release for the new EP, “her.” No cover. thebrothersband

Anne E. DeChant • Jilly’s Music Room • 8pm • This Nashville-based pop Americana musician is a Cleveland native on a swing through tour of Northeast Ohio for the holidays.

Cats and Coup de Grace • Annabell’s Bar & Lounge, 784 W Market St, Akron • 9pm •

Crafty Mart @ Goodyear • Goodyear

Brooklyn - The Story of Death by Audio double-feature for one night only. Hang out before/after the movie for an EQD B-stock sale.


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

to a women's water ceremony. The women I met there were very inviting and warm. We waded in the river together, sunk knee-deep in the mud and prayed for the government, the protectors, peace, protection and understanding in all four directions. Then we scooped up some water into a wooden bowl and prayed over it, passing it around to one another. I felt a palpable sense of community, surrounded by such a compassionate and strong group of women of all ages. We walked back to main camp singing, fists in the air and the protectors we passed raised their fists in solidarity. // Sydnie Barnette is a musician, writer, activist and community organizer from Kent, Ohio, currently residing in Eugene, Oregon. She and her sister Kreigh performed for 12 years around Akron and Northeast Ohio as Vivian and Midge Ramone in folkpunk duo ShiSho.

Thursday, Jan. 6

EarthQuaker Devices Movie Nite • The Nightlight, 30 N High St, Akron • Two showings: Daniel & the Best Dressed, Allen Cruz & the Galaxy, Reddy Freddy? (from Columbus), & 6:45pm and 9:15 pm • EarthQuaker Devices and The Nightlight present "EarthQuaker Devices: A Mini Movie" and Goodnight

Can I get an Amen?

The next morning, I walked up to main camp and was stopped by a woman who invited me

Tuesday, Dec. 27

Friday, Dec. 23

be proud of our African-American heritage.”

prayer. He told us to love our fellow man and to stay peaceful. Everything always came back

We took our cameras back to the car and be-

We drove into camp, passing around fifty flags, each representing a different tribe that stood in

Auditorium, 1201 E Market St, Akron • 12 7pm • Last minute holiday shopping from a curated collection of handmade artists and


tent all the way up. We have brown recluse spiders.”

Check out the full line of EQD effects at the headphone demo station.

Of Heart & Mind • The Empire Concert Club, 1305 E. Tallmadge Ave. • Doors at 7pm. Show at 8 pm. • The show is a "single release" show for Daniel & the Best Dressed’s new single: "Understanding." Tickets: $8 presale, $10 at the door. Details, visit



Peek into the “Valley of Progress” Q&A with author Cory Sheldon by Melanie Anderson

which are the highest peaks in the world. There, he plans on creating a forward thinking,

suggested reading order listed on the website, which is also the order they will be published.

some story specific audio accompaniment. I like immersion with stories, reading with an

technological utopia. The result of that pilgrimage is where most of the story takes place.

So I'd start with “The Murde Mountains— Archive 1.”

imagination as powerful as when I was a child, hopefully all the extra stuff helps with that.

MA: Your website has a fascinating section called the Catalogue, containing images and soundbites of the valley. Can you tell us a little about those?

MA: It seems as though a lot of work has gone into developing the world of your story. How do you go about building a fictional world?

CS: My design background is partially to blame, but I have an enthusiastic appreciation for immersive, supplemental material produced to support any work of fiction. I certainly feel MA: I see there are two books so far: the books need to stand on their own, but I “The Murde Mountains—Archive 1” and couldn't help myself building out the world “Book 1—Chigou.” Should they be read in other mediums. I created advertisements consecutively, or are they separate stories for companies and cafés, blueprint drawings about the same place? How should readers for machines and vehicles from the story, and

CS: Studying Visual Communication Design at Ohio State, I got well conditioned to a scientific approach to the arts, which included an ongoing process of research, outlining, sketches, iterations etc. I like to build up the story in layers; first outlining a world, then a plot, figuring out character actions and motivations, and ending with dialogue and details. The process loops back on itself and I

approach the books? CS: The series will contain three novellas and three novels. The shorter books—Archive 1, 2 and 3—tell stories that take place before the main novels. The Archives are structured

of course, maps, which are always helpful for any "world-building" piece of fiction. I generally avoid drawing characters or anything too directly connected, as I like to allow the reader to illustrate with their mind, and have

just keep creating, recording, and organizing as needed in order to fill out the world for the characters and the readers. Being my first novel, there was certainly a moment where I had to stop and appreciate just how much I needed to

more as self-contained stories, but connect to the overall narrative of the main books, which

all these extra pieces simply fill in the edges. I also wrote a few pieces of semi-ambient music

invent. I may have questioned my sanity a few times, spending hours coming up with street

follow a longer, continuous timeline. There is a

that continuously loop, so readers can have

and "Lives" are in Flower Poems.

admittedly flawed: "maybe I am part of the

Akron is known for its place in the quickly changing industrial scene of this region. Author Cory Sheldon, an Akronite and teacher of film and design has taken these familiar scenes and stories and developed a world of industry, power, and ambition in his new series, “Valley of Progress.” This last month, the first two books of the series, “Chigou” and “The Murde Mountains,” were celebrated with an official book launch event in Akron. MELANIE ANDERSON: Can you tell me a little about your book? What is the setting, and who are some of the characters that we can expect to meet? CORY SHELDON: “Valley of Progress” takes place in a fictional world, but similar to the western world during the end of the industrial revolution. The series begins as a visionary industrialist named Jean Batsu leads a group of followers towards the Murde Mountains,

Book Review: FLOWER POEMS Katie Mertz by Noor Hindi

Katie Mertz's new chapbook Flower Poems is exploding with dazzling images and fierce

During the course of the story, we follow a spectrum of individuals from a former civil enforcer named Gozen, to a young, ambitious farmer named Nia, to an idiosyncratic heir of an industrial empire named Jin—just to name a few.

written by the NEO-based band DEVO.

problem" ("Pando," line 32). The last poem Published by Frontier Slumber Press, Flower in the chapbook, titled "Lives," dwells on Poems was released this year. This is Mertz’s first the importance of pain for existence. Even as chapbook, and she has a lot of advice for those the speaker says, "some days I am // dripping

"If I had any goal, it is simply to be an outlet for others—for writers who have just published a book or chapbook and are looking for some

who are thinking about publishing their own.

so much human sadness" (lines 18-19) she admits that "the pain / is welcome because I understand // it is fleeting" (lines 14-16). It is

publicity, and for listeners who are looking to take a breather from the world to grab a drink and, maybe, be inspired in some way"

this raw emotional honesty that makes me love Flower Poems.

says Mertz.

"My advice to writers looking to have a chapbook published is going to sound really cheesy, and probably not all that helpful: Don’t Stop. A lot of the writing and publishing process can wear on you, but it’s so important

Mertz is a graduate of the

to just keep going because the work itself is too NEOMFA, and an employee at important to give up on," Mertz says. the Akron-Summit County Public

humor. Readers will fall in love with this collection because it's quirky and emotionally compelling. Mertz's voice is honest and funny,

Flower Poems does an excellent job at exposing the tension between hope and despair. There's

Library. She also co-curates the Big, Big Mess Reading Series, a monthly event that hosts local

and I want to carry so many of these poems in my pocket for the rainy days. Although this chapbook only houses 12 poems, some of my

an underlying sadness threaded throughout the chapbook that is balanced with a brave reflection on the nature of mankind. The

and national poets at Annabell's Bar and Lounge. The Big, Big Mess takes its name from the

favorites, including "Rebuilding the Titanic"

speaker feels very human because she is

song "Big Mess," which was


(continued on page 37)

Check out Flower Poems by visiting Frontier Slumber’s website at Keep up with the Big, Big Mess by visiting their Facebook. // For more poetic badassery, check out The Nervous Poodle Poet’s blog at Then go write some poems, you poet, you.

DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |


the arts ILENIA PEZZANITI Occupation: Freelance artist, photographer, videographer, storyteller, and writer Multimedia Storyteller and Herstory columnist for The Devil Strip Multimedia Storyteller for United Way of Summit County Project and Production Assistant at Pritt Entertainment Group Hometown: Tallmadge, OH Current neighborhood: Highland Square I’m a jack-of-all-trades and still mediocre at best, with a better attitude. I’m a tinkerer, creative-problem solver, and a constant learner. I’m a big-hearted, anxiety-ridden, sassy woman, an animal lover, a germaphobe, a gut-instinct goer, and a first generation Italian-American. I like history and thinking outside of the box. My closest relationship is with food. I am very proud to own a vagina—my vagina. ...I wasn’t supposed to end up in Akron. My roommates and I were looking for a place in Kent, but couldn’t find anything. ...Everyday I’m grateful I ended up here and not where I thought I wanted to be. Now I’m here because I’m connected, my lifestyle alliances, the beautiful Devil Strip magazine and the walkability. (Photo by Ilenia Pezzaniti)

BRONLYNN THURMAN Occupation: Program Associate for Knight Foundation, Program Assistant for GAR Foundation, Arts Editor for The Devil Strip Hometown: Akron Current neighborhood: Cuyahoga Falls


I would consider myself a Creative (with a big C) first and foremost. Without my art, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Beyond that, I'm a Black woman, bibliophile, storyteller, Akronite and nature lover. I often immerse myself in whatever I’m doing. Some may call it escapism, and it very well may be, but I like to think of it as being wholly present. I do a lot, so my mind is constantly running on overdrive. Reading and hiking give me a chance to step outside of myself, my thoughts, and truly connect to stories, to a world beyond my own. (Photo by Paul Hoffman)


YOLY MILLER Yoly Heisler, or even Elvira Yolanda Miller Heisler, but I prefer to keep it simple, Yoly Occupation: Writer, poet, storyteller, photographer Hometown: El Paso, TX, but Akron has been my hometown for half my life. Current neighborhood: East End of Northside, just one street over from downtown



| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

I am a social butterfly. I love meeting new people and visiting new places. I love intelligent conversation, learning new things, and I surround myself with creative, civic-minded people. That is why I love Akron so much. Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, there is something new and exciting happening. It's not just in the arts and culture scene, but in business and academia as well. People are not only being creative and innovative, they support other creatives and share their knowledge. This has given me the incentive to push (promote) as much of what I see and experience as I can. Someone needs to be the highlighter, I'm that highlighter. (Photo by Svetla Morrison)


nd writer edia


the arts SHANE WYNN Occupation: Photographer Hometown: Canton Current neighborhood: Highland Square

istant at

I love people. I collect them like some people


collect salt and pepper shakers; I have the finest collection. I am enamored by the rooms of people I find myself in here in Akron. I am


a champion for the underdog as I am aware

nct goer, e of the na—my


ere ateful I ecause nd the

ant for

hout , in

but I antly de of own.

of the uneven playing field that is life. I want to help raise awareness through my camera. I don’t like being told I can’t do something and therefore have worked for myself for a very long time. I recently took a test that indicated my overriding trait is that of a risk taker. I was completely unaware that I am one. (Photo by self portrait)


KYLE & BENJAMIN Name: Occupation:

KYLE JOZSA Storyteller/Director of Education,

BENJAMIN REXROAD Managing Artistic Director,

Wandering Aesthetics Wandering Aesthetics Hometown: Stow Portage Lakes Current Neighborhood: Downtown (West Hill Border – We’ve heard our residence will soon be included as part of West Hill)


“Akron is a high place. Akron is a low place. Akron is my home.” And Akron is our home. I love that we have family ties to Akron. I love that Akron is a welcoming city. I love that in Akron, folks are quick to encourage rather than discourage. I love that Akron is full of NOOR HINDI Occupation: Public Service Assistant at Kenmore Branch Library. Student at the University of Akron, free-thinking creatives looking to better not only this community, but the world. I The Devil Strip Literary Arts Editor. love that Akron provides us with valuable resources, such as time and space. I love that Hometown: Firestone Park Akron has granted us – and many others – the opportunity to live out our dreams. I love that Akron – like it’s community – is always striving for greatness. I love the very name of Current neighborhood: Firestone Park this city – AKRON. ...Benjamin and I are best described as intrepid explorers – wanderers, if you will. Together we form a dynamic duo (#DogAndBearAdventures) bent on discovering our American roots and identity through the lens of narrative. We use our work as an investigation into the art of storytelling and the ever-changing dynamics between performer and audience. We endeavor to build community through person-toperson contact, connecting disparate "tribes" through our performances, studying the human link in our diverse cultural heritage. (Photo by Shane Wynn)

I'm an Arab-American immigrant. I'm also Muslim. I was born in Amman, Jordan, but I've lived in the Northeast Ohio community my entire life. Right now, I live in Firestone Park. My favorite Akron event is PechaKucha, my favorite spot here is Nervous Dog Coffee, and my favorite place to grab pizza is Pierre's Pizza in Kenmore, right across from where I work. Right now, I've really been enjoying hosting poetry readings for local writers in Akron, as well as promoting current literary events and organizations here. (Photo by Grace Ebner)


Intersections: Artists Master Line and Space is organized by the Akron Art Museum and generously supported in part by the Lehner Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Special thanks to Hilton Garden Inn – Akron. Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation


One South High I Akron, OH 44308 I

DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |


the arts MEGAN COMBS


Occupation: Webinar Manager and TDS Assistant Arts Editor

Occupation: Fiber Artist Hometown: Cleveland

Hometown: Green Current neighborhood: Copley

Current neighborhood: Wallhaven How do you identify? Artist. It took a long time to embrace it since I was

I am constantly surprised by the number of generous, caring and creative people I meet on a daily basis. I love being

taught that it's not a "real" job. My background is Training & Organizational Development. Development. I have a passion for seeing people improve. I still do Training and Diversity & Inclusion consulting. But creativity, art, artisans

surrounded by all of them. I started

and artists are my air. It's what I do and who I am. My goal is to use my passion for humans and my art to inspire change. (Photo by Jef Janis, Double

working with The Devil Strip because I had no idea what was going around me at any given time. As an editor, and a reader in general, I've gotten to know so much about this city, which gives me the ability to pimp it out to everyone I meet. I love gushing about how great Akron is and why people should visit. I can't wait to see what the future holds for our city. It's such an exciting and invigorating time to be an Akronite. (Photo by Steve Combs)

Vision Photographic)





Occupation: Photographer, The Devil Strip Visuals Editor Hometown: a small town in Bulgaria Current neighborhood: Akron I left my hometown when I was 18. I'm turning 40 (like in 2 days). I have lived in quite a few places. Akron is the only place, other than my hometown, that has made me feel like HOME again, 22 years later. I am forever grateful for the incredible people I've met here, since day one. They have offered me, as new to this country and how things work here, so much support, help and understanding. And treating me as an equal contributing member. I wouldn't have been where I am today without those carrying souls. When I think Akron, I think about all these countless loving hearts. Akron is a truly unique place. I hope everyone who lives here sees it too.

KRISTINA AIAD-TOSS Occupation: UA Student, Buchtelite News Editor, ZPN Traditional Events Chair Hometown: Youngstown Current neighborhood: University Park The best part of Akron is by far all of the amazing people I've met. Wherever I go in Akron I always meet interesting people who have amazing stories to tell. Everyone I've met has touched me in a unique way or taught me something. I'm also incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities I have had here in Akron and at the University. I've gotten to study abroad in Spain, be a part of different organizations at the University, I'm studying the things I love, and I discovered how much I love journalism. I've gotten to write for two awesome publications—The Devil Strip and the Buchtelite—where I've gotten to tell all of the amazing stories of the people I have met here. (Photo self portrait)


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12



culture club




Part 1: Putting

i shovel down when you hit rock bottomV Abuse and violence led this man to addiction. Here’s how he found his way out. written by Noor Hindi; photography by Ilenia Pezzaniti 6 min. read

ED. NOTE: Be advised the following story

This began at home.

contains adult language and describes drug use,

graphic violence, child abuse and suicide.



ed hair, red beard, red shirt and a red bandanna. It seems obvious why people call him “Red”, but really, it’s short for Redwood. He’s built like one. His large frame easily fills the doorway of this Ravenna trailer. He’s at least six feet tall and his giant arms are covered in tattoos.

Red’s stepfather quit spanking him when he was 10 years old. Instead, he would take the boy out to the backyard to fist fight. During one of these assaults, when Red was just 13, his stepfather broke Red’s arm. His mother finally stepped in, threatening to kick his abuser out. It didn’t stop for long.

Red was affected by more than just the trauma of the abuse he suffered or being witness to his stepfather’s suicide. It was what the abuse taught him.

"I ended up homeless in southern California at a really young age. I ended up robbing a gas station with a knife. There was a police chase. I got busted. They sent me to Corcoran," Red says.

"At that time, I became very violent. I was always in fights and I was in special schools. I learned that the most violent person had all the power, and I definitely wanted the power. I was thirsty for it.” 

At Corcoran State Prison, Red says he joined the Aryan Brotherhood, which he describes as a perfect fit because he was a huge kid who loved violence. Plus, he had access to needles because of his diabetes. There, he was willing to do anything.

Later that year, Red went out with his William “Red” Birchfield is intimidating

grandfather for a whole day on the canoe. He came back so severely sunburned, he had to

Red ended up in foster care for a while, but ran away to find his mom, who was managing

"They were pit fighting guys there. They'd send me and a black guy out, or me and a Mexican

stay home from school to recover. That day, he mistakenly left an ice cream sandwich on the bathroom sink, where it melted. That’s where

a few bars in downtown Kent. In those bars, he met members of punk, metal and rock bands like Hed PE, Coal Chamber and SNOT.

guy out, and we'd fight in the yard, videotaped, and the guards would bet on it. And if you weren't the guy they bet on, they'd shoot you

his stepfather found it.

He followed one back to California at age 16, working as a roadie while they toured. He says

if you lost.”

my Arab-American being goes on alert. This is not, however, the way he wants to live going forward. It is not, in fact, who he is anymore.

"He pulled his belt off and just started beating me with it. Because of all the blisters, my skin peeled off, and I was bleeding everywhere really bad," Red says. "My mom was in Vegas, and

he smoked a lot of pot, drank a lot and played around with psychedelics, but never did heroin.

He found more than an outlet for the violence he kept pent up. "I finally had father figures that I thought loved me and cared about me. I fit in really well there."

Today, Red is closing in on two years of

when my sisters got home, they called mom and the drummers, but when the bands left for a said, 'We think dad killed him' because I was European tour, he couldn’t join them because

sobriety. He’s married with three kids. He’s been

bleeding, and I was just out from the pain.’"

promoted to supervisor by an employer who gives him the flexibility to help others, whether he’s putting together bicycles to give away at Christmas through the Akron area nonprofit

True to her word, Red's mom kicked her husband out, but a few days later, he came

without necessarily intending to be. It’s easy to imagine that, if he wanted to be, Red could be genuinely frightening, which you get the sense he knows and has, in the past, used to his advantage. Multiple times, he will tell us, "I love violence." When he admits to joining the Aryan Brotherhood in prison, every fiber of

Elves & More, or establishing a support group in his hometown for other recovering addicts. It’s important to know up front his story has a happy ending because it won’t seem possible considering how it starts. He didn’t come to his heroin addiction through prescription painkillers. He was 18 and already in a California prison on an armed robbery charge when he first shot up.


back with a .38 handgun. He fired a few rounds in the kitchen and everyone scattered to the back porch. That’s when Red's stepfather shot himself in the head. “We looked like a great family, you know?” Red says. “But nobody knew that my mom had warrants for selling cocaine to a federal agent, and when he would beat our ass, nobody called the cops, because mom would go to jail.”

After the tour ended, Red lived with one of

he was still on the run from foster care and couldn't get a passport.

But it wasn’t “Ozzie and Harriet.” This was where, at 18, Red injected heroin for the first (continued on page 37)

IN JANUARY issue Red says… “So, I'm in jail. I know that I'm going away for a long time. They're talking like 30 years. And I'm just — I don’t know — I'm not at peace with it, but I'm not letting it change who I am or what I'm trying to do. ...I went in front of the judge, and I said, ‘Look, I take accountability for this. I've never gotten a chance in my life. Y'all have been throwing the key away for years, and honestly, I don't blame you because I didn't deserve a chance. I'm not saying I deserve one now, but I think that if you were to give me a chance right now, this would probably be the best opportunity in my whole life because I think I can run with it.’”

DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |


culture club


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Occupation: Senior Nursing Officer, social entrepreneur, Lead Researcher of The PPF Research and Peace Institute of Ghana, Peace Activist from Ghana working to promote peace in Ghana and globally through research, national dialogue, advocacy and consultation. Hometown: Ghana, a West African nation that was first to achieve independence in 1957 in sub Saharan African. It is a country of political and interreligious stability in Africa with rich history and heritage. Current neighborhood: Highland Square What do you like about Akron? Akron means a lot to me because of the unique transformation I have witness in this four months period. I think more global now than ever before and feel more obliged to work for global peace. There are many things that make Akron unique across many of the communities and states of America that I visited in the course of this fellowship. I really love the collective sense of neighborhood that I see more in Akron. We were welcomed to Akron at Angel Falls on the eve of the memorial service of the late Summit County Executive Russ Pry. On many occasion we received visitors from the neighborhood in our house. That for me tells more about the bond and connections between the people of Akron as supposed to the general notions of Americans being independent and individualistic. How do you identify yourself?

2.3139 in x 12.75 in

My vision is to contribute to creating a world where humanity live in absolute peace with each other with a great sense of respect for diversity and conflict is resolved through mediation, dialogue and not through war. I dream of a globe where humanity see themselves as global citizens and committed to creating opportunities for all regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender or race. ...When I return to Ghana, my focus will be to put a team to begin working on achieving that. I feel obliged as an international ambassador of Akron to introduce Akron to a lot more Ghanaians What did you think of your first experience with snow? My first snow experience was a unique and memorable occasion I will (continued on page 36)

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culture club JUDI HILL Occupation: retired administrator Akron Public Schools. Currently, in my second term as president Akron NAACP. Hometown: Oberlin, Ohio--major stop on the Underground Railroad. One of the first colleges to allow women and African America. Current neighborhood: Copley I am a mother, grandmother, wife, educator, and woman of strong faith. I came to Akron to attend college and teach. I taught students and adults in the Akron Public Schools and my church. As president of Akron NAACP I advocate for the political, social, educational and economic well being. I have a special interest in educational opportunities and advancement for our youth. I love my God, my family, reading, traveling and justice. I love when human words align with human actions and human spirit for the betterment of society. (Photo by Svetla Morrison)


ARTHUR FREEMAN Arthur Freeman, 69, of Akron, is homeless. He sits at the corner of W. Exchange and Rand every day, rocking back and forth in his chair, collecting donations. His inhaler recently ran out, and he’s hoping to get a new one. "Everyday is a good day long as he wakes me up," Freeman says. (Photo by Ilenia Pezzaniti)




Occupation: Retired legal educator ......... Writer Hometown: Woodbury, NJ ..................... Wadsworth, OH Current Neighborhood: Merriman Hills .................... Merriman Hills NAOMI PIEPHO Occupation: Student Hometown: Akron by way of Tam Ky, Vietnam Current Neighborhood: Merriman Hills We are a loving family in the process of setting two amazing young women loose upon the world. Akron has lots of big-city amenities without the scaled-up big-city problems. (Not Pictured: Chloe Piepho, Student/Artist from Akron) (Photo by Shane Wynn)

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ARTHUR FREEMAN MADHU SHARMA Occupation: Attorney; Director of Immigrant Services at the International Institute of Akron Hometown: Born in Jalandhar, India; grew up in New London, Ohio,

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

spent the last 18 years in Los Angeles before moving back to Akron last year Current neighborhood: lives in Stow; works in North Hill. I work as a human rights attorney, and it grounds me, but I'm also a writer. I represent victims of state-sponsored torture, violent crimes and human trafficking from all over the world, and I've helped people who are undocumented in the United States secure immigration status no matter how or why they came here. I'm a different kind of lawyer because I get to tell stories and hear stories all day. I also write poetry, essays and short stories. I came to Akron just over a year ago because it became more important to me to spend time with my family here, and I was lucky to find the gem that is North Hill and the International Institute, where I'm able to continue the work I do.



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BRANT LEE Occupation: Law Professor Hometown: San Francisco Current neighborhood: Merriman Hills (Paisades) I am a teacher. Sometimes I do that in a classroom through my job as a law professor. Sometimes I do that as a parent to my children. Sometimes I just do it as a person who observes and listens. I feel I have a gift for articulating and explaining certain aspects of the world in way that makes sense to a particular audience. (Photo by Shane Wynn)

BRANT LEE AMANI ABRAHAM Occupation: Reporter Hometown: Akron Current neighborhood: Green


The best part of Akron is the people. It may sound cliche, but there is something special about the people who hold so much passion for this city. There's not a day that goes by where I don't find myself learning something new from an Akronite—whether it's someone developing a new business or an individual who is sharing a vision that could change the way we see things. Akron has essentially become part of my identity. As a reporter in my hometown, I am able to dig deeper into what makes this city light up and learn from those making positive changes to transform Akron into a name that's recognized for its vibrancy and character. As I grow and learn, my city it doing the same—and that's a beautiful thing. (Photo by Shane Wynn)

PATRICK L. BRAVO Occupation: Executive Director, Summit County Land Bank Hometown: Lebanon, Indiana


Current neighborhood: West Akron (Northwest Akron, Upper Castle) Akron is big enough to matter in the world, but small enough for you to matter in it. I am a partner to Michael, a father to Aiden, and a friend. I moved here for school, but I stayed to make a difference. I believe in the power of community and I am an advocate for children and families. I love movies and music, and I enjoy reading just about everything I can get my hands on. (Photo by Shane Wynn)

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ERIC R. J. FLETCHER Occupation: President - Young Black Professionals Coalition. The Ohio State University Young Scholars Program - City of Akron Program Coordinator Hometown: Akron, Oh. Current Neighborhood: West Akron

AUDREY WALLACE Occupation: Co-Founder of Komae

AMY HUSTED Occupation: Co-Founder of Komae

I am a black man, trying to make dreams reality, trying to Be Relevant. I am a loving husband, falling in love with my wife each and every day. I am father to two wonderful sons, trying my

Hometown: Valley City, OH Current Neighborhood: West Akron, OH

Hometown: Parma Heights, OH Current Neighborhood: Copley, OH

best to be a positive role model. I am a servant of my community. Akron is home. My family and friends reside here. I am doing my best to leave Akron in better shape than when I inherited

We are two SAHMs turned Co-Founders of a hot new startup in Akron called Komae. We are building an app that empowers parents to exchange free babysitting with their personal network of friends—a solution to a very real problem to find trusted, affordable care that we experienced

it. I love my family and friends. They motivate me to be better, to strive for greatness. Without the guidance and support of my family, I wouldn't be who I am today; I wouldn’t have the opportunity to engage with my community and build relationships with community leaders. My passion is working with the African American community and encouraging our youth. There is

in our own lives. We love God, our husbands, our sons, and our city. Being female tech startup

a lot of potential for greatness here in Akron, and I want others to seize the opportunity and

entrepreneurs in Akron is kind of like crowd surfing; we love being surrounded by amazing people and programs that lift us up and cheers us on!

enhance not only themselves but our community. I am a connector and enjoy networking with people and connecting the right people with each other. Be Relevant.

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AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE • 330.835.9945 DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |



Tip Sheet

Bootstrapping >>>


Dig Deeper into the Data

compiled by/photos by Scott Piepho

Question: The presidential election result was a surprise. What’s one thing that

One way local libraries could give your business a boost by Jodie M. Grasgreen

Whether an idea for a business is still a glimmer in your mind or if you are preparing for a ssales ales call, free, quality business information is abundant a bundant if you have a library card. You need

• Keep current with information within an industry

Jeff Wilhite is located in a database of specialized information,government, academic and

• Have icebreaker questions for interviewing or sales calls to be introduced to the magic world of research • Find content for social media, personal databases, your source for amazing business and/or company

trade publications.


• Gain access to appropriate trade publications

accessed directly without the need of a library card.

Two area libraries, Hudson Library & Historical

Between the two libraries, you will find many

Society and the Akron Summit County Public Library, have expanded collections of business

answers in these databases: AtoZ Database, Business Insights: Essential, Business Source

American FactFinder and American Community Survey are incredibly data-rich resources from

databases that will enhance the budding business or veteran entrepreneur with the

Premiere, First Research, Hoover’s, LexisNexis, and Reference USA.

the US Bureau of the Census. Community stats on housing, race, gender, commute time,

information they need to get the job done. HL&HS requires a Clevnet library card that provides access to resources in nearly 40 libraries including Cleveland Public Library. You may also want an ASCPL card. You may hold multiple public library cards. There are stages to running a business beginning with the creation of a business plan. For that, you need lists of competitors, industrial analysis, target audience

Finally, there are three additional databases that provide a wealth of information and are

wealth are just the tip of the iceberg. They provide access to many full-text articles from trade and academic journals, magazines, SWOT, marketing reports and newspapers. You will find emails, company histories, management and corporate trees, expenditures, consumer spending trends, historic business information and geographic-based searching., once known as the “Big Green Books”, is now online and free. Find lists of manufactures, companies to contact for prototypes, industry white papers and more.

Networking is vital for conducting business and the list-making capabilities of ReferenceUSA

It is important to note that these business resources are valuable to job seekers as well. You should be conducting the same research for your job search as you would while

and AtoZ Database is mind-boggling.

developing or running a business. Make friends with a public library’s business librarian and expand your opportunities.

Once you have established your enterprise, the

Additionally, several of the databases will provide content for your personal and company’s social media pages.

need for quality, information is still vital. You will continue to need to:

Many people are amazed to learn a search-

• Explore industries and companies • Create contact and networking lists

engine search (Google, DuckDuckGo, Dogpile) you are accessing a mere 15 percent of what is on the web. The bulk of the information

identification, competitive analysis, SWOT reports (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) for companies and industries.


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

has changed in your outlook or plans for your business as a result?

// Jodie M. Grasgreen is a Reference and Adult Services Librarian. She has enjoyed living in Akron for 33 years. Prior to becoming a librarian, she was involved in education politics and wrote for the West Side Leader.

President and CEO, Hydrogen Energy Systems, LLC. “More focus on tolerance. That would be the thing that I am concerned about. ...One of the things that’s so unique about Summit County is we blend well with collaborations, working with each other, trying to create a unified front and there was anything but a unified front nationally.”

Amy Husted Co-Founder and COO, Komae “I don’t think that I’ve thought about it affecting my business per se. I’m at such an early growth stage. I think if I was a larger company maybe I would have more concerns, but I don’t see any way it’s going to affect me right now, right in the stage where I’m at.”

Aaron “A.C.” Christopher President and CEO, Drips “This is not going to be a popular answer. So I’ve been an entrepreneur from before I ever heard the word. I firmly believe that any man or woman that believes that the President of the United States is going to affect the outcome on the success or failure of their business has already lost.”


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DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |


shopping guide















Shopping Guide t-shirt guide Akron” Authentic Akron Clothing, Gifts and More! 18 N. High St., Akron, OH

1. Akron Rubber Ducks Logo shirts for the reigning Eastern League champions in a full range of colors and styles. Cost: $10 and up Available: The Team Shop at the Canal Park, 300 S. Main St, Akron, or online at

shop online at Cavs” line that borrows from the logo of the reigning NBA champs. Cost: $26 for the shirt 6. Human Unlimited Available: Locals may think first of Human Unlimited as a great spot for yoga, but people all over the 10. Revival country have been going bonkers for their line This Highland Square staple is well-known as a of inspirational and aspirational shirt designs for place to get vintage fashions, jewelry, knick-

both men and women. Cost: Most shirts are 2. Brick Street Apparel $32 Available: 1650 West Market Street, Suite A local company whose shirt designs emphasize 31 (in Wallhaven above Einstein Bros.) or online the founders’ home neighborhood North Hill at Cost: $18 and up Available: Online only,

knacks and art but they’ve long produced some the best and most unique, Akron-loving shirts too. Cost: $20 and up Available: 822 W. Market St., Akron

7. Luigi’s

11. Rubber City Clothing Company

3. Dropkick Apparel The local company offers a number of Akroncentric designs alongside athletic gear and Get Nasty Apparel. Cost: $10.99 and up Available:

Akron’s most popular red sauce restaurant claims it’s t shirt design goes back to its 1950s origins. Try the vintage “If Lost” design or their current “Try a Piece.” Cost: $15 Available: At the restaurant, 105 N. Main, Akron, or online at

The city’s best-known T-shirt store features a number of Akron-inspired designs in sizes from baby onsies to XXXLarge. You can get their designs put on practically anything for that custom touch. (We may or may not have put

Online at

The Don’s face on the fly of some boxer shorts.)

4. Fred’s Diner Not only does the iconic breakfast spot have its own old school tees, but a couple of local

8. Neighbors Apparel When you purchase these shirts, apparel and accessories made by women from Akron’s

They also offer other cool Akron gear from belt buckles to pint glasses. Cost: $19 and up Available: Peruse in person at 18 N. High St. Akron, or shop online at

designers have been inspired by Fred’s feisty “Eat, pay, get out” slogan. Cost: $10-14

refugee population, you’re being a neighbor to people who have fled persecution by helping

12. Shivering Timbers

Available: 930 Home Ave., Akron, or from a different vendor like RockEVERYwear (shown) which you can get through their mobile fashion truck wrapped in screaming comic-inspired

them establish economic independence. Cost: $25 and up Available: Carried by various retailers around Akron, like Market Path in Highland Square, or you can shop online at

You can get the Akron band’s logo—the name san serif across a stylized cross-section of a tree—in black on a white shirt or white or white on a black shirt. Cost: $15 Available:

designs at events around the city, or check them out at 9. NotPerfect

The merch table at their live shows, or online at

5. Goodyear The iconic Akron brand has a varied line of

Before King James surprised everybody by coming back, this low-key local designer made

13. The Social Dept.

branded shirts and other merchandise. Cost: $10.60 and up Available: Not available at the tire centers, but there is a store attached to headquarters, 200 Innovation Way, Akron, or

waves with his “Akron Heat” swag, which allowed LeBron’s Blimp City fans to cheer specifically for their Hometown Hero. Now that he’s come home, NotPerfect offers an “Akron

celebrate their home state and hometown pride but owner Andy Taray saves a little somethingsomething for his Akron-specific work, in (T-Shirt Guide continued on page 35)

Akron’s own helps folks all over the nation


shopping guide

experiences guide

1. Rock Mill This is a workout unlike any other in Akron. At Rock Mill, you can challenge yourself with indoor rock climbing, yoga, equipped fitness room and training programs. (Photo courtesy of the Rock Mill Facebook page) Cost: $55/mo. or $595 if you prepay for a year Available: In person at 677 Carroll St., Akron, and online at




5 2. The Nightlight Cinema Akron’s own downtown indie movie theater is built not just for cinema lovers but to foster community. As such, they offer several annual membership levels with benefits ranging from





discounts on tickets to free admission, free popcorn, members only screenings, guest passes and more. (Photo by Rob Vaughn, courtesy of The Nightlight’s Facebook page) Cost: $50-$300 Available: In person at 30 N. High St. and online at 3. Akron Zoo If you have children, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than an an annual family membership to the Akron Zoo. Member benefits include free admission here (and discounted admission at other major zoos), free parking, zoo gift shop discounts, after-hours zoo experiences, behind-the-scenes tours and more. (Photo courtesy of the Akron Zoo Facebook page) Cost: Starts at $55 Available: In person at 505 Euclid Ave and online at 4. Akron Art Museum Though they brought the collection to your neighborhood with Inside/Out and open to the public for free every Thursday, there are special perks for Akronites who invest in a membership to support our internationally recognized modern art museum. Benefits include free yearlong admission, discounts to the art museum store and reciprocal benefits to art museums throughout the U.S. and more. (Photo by Joe

United Way of Summit County




Levack/Studio Akron, courtesy of the AAM Facebook page) Cost: Personal Memberships: $25-$500 /

Business Memberships: $500-$5000 Available: In person at One South High St. or online at 5. Akron RubberDucks


6. Akron Children’s Museum The wait is over and the now the ACM is open in its permanent spot at Lock 3 after an incredible pilot period. Go ahead and treat your family with a membership, which includes unlimited admission, members only events, discounts on birthday party packages, free parking and more. (Photo courtesy of the Akron

Whether you’re trying to catch some future MLB stars on their rise, or you just want a good Children’s Museum) Cost: $55-$125 Available: hot dog and a great place to enjoy it, your 2016 In person at 216 S. Main St. and online at Eastern League Champs can accommodate you. Season ticket holders get 18 percent off regular single game tickets, name recognition on seats, a complimentary ceremonial first pitch during the season, invitations to exclusive season ticket holder events, express lane access to concession stands and more. (Photo courtesy of the Akron RubberDucks) Cost: $550 Available: Online at

art guide

12 textiles to fine art photography and paintings and everything in between. Cost: $100-$5000 Available: In person at 1765 W Market St. Akron, and online at 8. Akron Glassworks An assortment of decorative holiday and all-occasion hand-blown glass pieces ranging from ornaments to vases, platters, bowls and lighting. Workshops include a hands-on experience with a professional glassblowing artist and a piece to keep that you will make. (Photo courtesy of Akron Glassworks)

Cost: Glass pieces starting at $20; workshops

$60/person Available: Gifts available at their 7. Akrona Gallery new location at 421 Spicer St. (a re-purposed Offers sculpture, original paintings, blown glass, church building) and workshop registration jewelry and fine art reproductions with custom available online at framing for everything from cross-stitched (continued on page 35)

give the gift of healthy snacks for kids to eat on their winter break. Your year-end, tax-deductible donation can support the Holiday Snack Packs food drive. This new United Way of Summit County program distributes tote bags full of nutritious snacks for Akron Public Schools students to enjoy over their winter break. When parents don’t need to worry about their children going hungry, families can spend more time creating meaningful, lasting holiday memories.



great things happen when we LIVE UNITED! DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |


shopping guide

Stocking stuffers

9. Lowtique The official shop for Andy Hopp’s Mutha Oith Creations features Low Life RPG, the

1. Akron Honey Company Known for their sweet, sticky gold-to-red nectar harvested at several Akron locations, AHC now makes honey-based skin care products like

Dementalism card game, the Low Life Miniatures line of collectible figures, the Lowlies plush toys, original and reproduction artwork, as well as merch from Oddmall and an overflowing

lip balm and salve. Cost: Varies Available: At local craft events, pop-ups and Watch for updates online at

barrel of raw, burning assorted othernesses. Cost: varies Available: At any Oddmall event and online all the time at

2. Urban Buzz All Urban Buzz candles are hand poured in Akron and contain only the purest beeswax

10. NORKA In addition to delicious, sugary soda pop, Akron’s NORKA Beverage also sells T-shirts,

from local Ohio apiaries. UB makes tea lights, aromatherapy tins, pillar candles, adorable votives and more. Cost: $1 for tea lights up

sunglasses and vintage tins in their online store. Cost: varies Available: Just like every Cracker Barrell now, many local retailers carry NORKA

to $20 for a fancy pillar candle Available: Several local shops carry Urban Buzz, from the Lifesource Yoga to Ritzman Pharmacies, but for a full list or to order direct, visit them online at

beverage but you can have yours delivered when you shop online at 3. Butter Your Nuts

Handcrafted products made from upcycled materials by women in a job skills training program committed to reentry after

Slow-ground nut butter that uses only natural ingredients with no added oils, stabilizers or preservatives, and sometimes features local favs like Akron Coffee Roasters. Cost: $7.99 and up

incarceration or during addiction recovery. Cost: varies Available: Akron Art Museum, Rubber City Clothing and The Market Path and online at


for 16 oz Available: At a few local shops and online at 4. Not Yo’ Daddy’s Hot Sauce Artisan, small batch Mexican Hot Sauce made in Akron, Ohio with a recipe from Durango, Mexico. Cost: $7.95 for 5 oz, $12.95 for 12 oz Available: In person at local events and shops like Sweet Mary’s Bakery, Urban Eats and Stray Dog. Get updates online at

than by sticking an eyeball nightlight in their stocking? Hard to explain so see for yourself. Cost: Starts at $4.99/each. Available: Complicated… you have to visit to print off an order form with your payment

establishments and landmarks. Cost: $10+

Crafty Mart like events or online at

Available: They have an amazing office (190 N. Union St, Suite 200, Akron), but you can order the poster online at 14. ReGeeked Wallets and whatnot crafted from the pages of 6. Saint Augustine and Suds

comic books. It’s the perfect synergy of geekery and practicality. Cost: $10+ Available:

The most beautiful and pleasantly fragrant handmade soaps, scrubs, soaks, candles, shave kits and beard oil you can imagine. Cost: $5

In person at craft shows like Crafty Mart’s special Dec. 23 show at Goodyear Theatre. Full schedule online at

and up Available: Visit the store (1947 W. Market St., Suite 102, Akron) or shop online at


15. Tiny Cloud Ceramics They cost more than whatever you’d get at Big Lots, but with biting phrases that contrast with twinkle-oriented design, you won’t find anything like them anywhere else. Cost: $38

and spices. Cost: $6+ Available: Hower House, Available: Wolf Creek Trading Co., Urban Eats and online

8. Lost Lust Supply Beautifully made, intricately detailed enamel lapel pins created by Akronite Charlie Wagers and his close Portland-based friend Brian Stowell. Cost: $6.50 - $9 Available: Nationwide, including Urban Outfitters, and online at

















4 coffee bean roasters / sellers 16. Akron Coffee Roasters The specialty roaster features a number of single origin varieties roasted in-house. Cost: Starts at $12/10 oz. Available: 30 N. 7



12. Captain Eyeball What better way to surprise your loved one

13. StegoKitty Collaborative project between artists Mori Clark and Erin Latham who create one-of-a-kind zipper pouches and bags from adorbs fabric designed by Mori. Available: Find them at



11. Not Wasted

5. Akron Icons Poster This clever art by 427 Design began as an exclusive for Unbox Akron subscribers but may become a series celebrating iconic Akron

7. Tea Dude Cool, funky flavors made from personal recipes with natural tea leaves and other dried herbs


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12





shopping guide High St, Akron, next to the Nightlight Cinema Online: 17. Angel Falls In addition to a selection of coffees and accoutrements, the shop boasts one of the area’s most impressive selections of loose-leaf tea. Cost: varies Available: 792 W Market St, Akron, OH 19

18. Artisan coffee Recently celebrating its first year in business, the shop offers coffee and tea, plus you can purchase a Christmas special version of one of its hand-thrown pottery mugs made by Yost Pottery. Cost: $35.00 for the mug. Available: 662 Canton Rd, Akron Online: 19. Nervous Dog



The shop offers whole bean coffee and a variety of mugs and clothing items Cost: varies Available: 1530 W Market St, Akron or 4161 Steels Pointe, Stow Online:

8 akron books 20. Mary Biddinger and Jay Robinson,


“The Czar” Biddinger, a professor of English at the University of Akron and Robinson, who teaches at UA and Ashland University, collaborated on this volume of poems that stands “at the intersection of ironic political commentary and hyperbolized body currency.” Cost: $15.95 Available: Black Lawrence Press and online at


21. Bill Broun, “Night of the Animals” Broun, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls and Hudson, has released a futuristic fiction novel that includes a European Union devolved into oligarchy, a suicide cult bent on destroying the world’s animals and an elderly, mentally



ill protagonist. Cost: $18.89 Available: The kinds of places where you buy books and online from the publisher at harpercollins. com/9780062400796/night-of-the-animals 22. Rita Dove, “Collected Poems 1974-2004” An essential collection for anyone who loves poetry, especially if they love Akron because Rita Dove isn’t just a Rubber City original; she’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and the nation’s first African-American Poet Laureate. Cost: $39.95 Available: Fine bookstores everywhere. Learn more about Dove at people/rfd4b


We Have the Pie


23. James Renner, “The Great Forgetting” An Akron-based true crime writer (his latest is a memoir “True Crime Addict”), James Renner’s most recent novel is another genrebending and -blending work that plays with sci-fi, fantasy and thrillers, featuring a history teacher who is pulled into web of conspiracy theories in his effort to save the world. Cost: $20+ Available: Book-selling type places in real life and online. Learn more about him at (continued on page 38)



(And so much more!)

shopping guide


11 1









vintage & retail shops

Market St, Akron. Parking and entrance in rear, off North St Online:

5 7. Ely Road Boutique with quality, contemporary

new and consignment clothing and accessories. Lots of Akron-themed items. Cost: varies

women’s clothing and accessories. Cost: varies

Available: 822 W Market St, Akron

Available: 21 Maiden Ln, Akron Online:


1. Gypsy Grace & the Vintage Goat Weird stuff, cool junk, retro, odd but not

4. Dragon’s Mantle Metaphysical supplies for pagan and spiritual needs, and just for fun. Herbs, oils, candles,

obsolete and custom items. Cost: varies Available: 451 W Market St, Akron Online:

books, incense, gemstones, statuary, jewelry 8. Bomb Shelter and more. Cost: varies Available: 962 Kenmore Akron’s retro superstore. This 18,000 sq ft Blvd, Akron Online: warehouse is packed with antique, vintage

2. Vintage Vault Vast selection of vintage lighters, jewelry,

5. NOTO Small boutique selling a variety of locally/

and retro goods from around the world. Cost: varies Available: 923 Bank St, Akron Online:

furniture, toys and odds and ends. Cost: varies Available: 1900 W Market St, Akron

USA made women’s contemporary fashion. Cost: varies Available: North: 106 N Main St, Akron or South: 76 S Main St, Akron Online:

9. Steam Trunk An handsome boutique with antiques, cigars,

12. Birchwood Supply This store boasts a large collection of found and vintage home decor, and they

3. Land of Plenty Vintage and antique furniture and decor; houseplants, succulents and terrariums; vintage

gifts and men’s merchandise. Cost: varies Available: 16 S Highland Ave, Akron Online:

specialize in custom work. Cost: varies Available: 21 Merriman Rd, Akron Online:

6. The Market Path

11. Urban Lace

and modern jewelry; metaphysical and new Fair Trade store offering items that are age. Beautiful selection of crystals and salt handmade by artisans around the world. lamps. Incense, bulk herbs, locally made candles Cost: varies Available: 833 W Market St,

10. Revival This Highland Square staple nestled next door

and more. Cost: varies Available: 339 W

to Square Records boasts a large selection of


Akron Online:

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

Women’s boutique offering unique clothing, jewelry and accessories in the heart of downtown Cuyahoga Falls. Cost: varies Available: 119 Portage Trail, Cuyahoga Falls Online:


shopping guide

the akron 8 coolist gifts

1. EQD pedal EarthQuaker Devices makes quality effects pedals, one-at-a-time, by hand right here in Akron. Even if you aren’t a musician, you can still rock some sweet EQD hoodies, T-shirts and coffee mugs, which you’ll find in their online store. Cost: varies Available: In real life at


Replay Music, Guitar Department, Woodsy’s


Music and Wadsworth Music and online at 2. Jaswig standing desk Sitting is the new smoking, and if you’re going for a standing desk, don’t settle for something ugly. Jaswig was conceived by a biomimicry student at UA and has been seen in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, which sounds weird when you put it that way. Cost: $449 for the Nomad Available: Only online via their store at




3. Event 38 drones Yeah, these Akron-made beauties are the big-time industrial strength unmanned flying systems that the folks in precision agriculture, construction, environmental conservation and mining use, but that doesn’t we wouldn’t want one for ourselves. Cost: $1,799 and up, up, up… Available: There are probably drone stores somewhere, but it’d be easier if you ordered from their website at 4. Whiskertin Lighting Handcrafted from various sheet metal parts, these new styles of light fixtures put a hip bend on the blue collar, factory town vibe that gave Akron its reputation. Cost: starts at $100 Available: You can find their lights at Hazel Tree Interiors or online at




5. Burns Boards

6. Blimp City Bike and Hike

7. Renaissance Artisan Distillers

8. TinyCircuits arcade game

Technically, they’re Doylestown but their cutting boards are amazing and one time, co-owner Krista Burns sent me an old Akron magazine so it’s close enough. Hubby Bob has been crafting

There are lots of bike shops around Northeast Ohio so we’re liable to upset someone by picking a favorite, but the heart wants what it wants. If you’re in the market for a bike, you

A cousin to the great Grape and Granary, where you can buy DIY beer kits and take classes in brewing, RAD is Akron’s first distillery. When you give the gift of booze, it’s like you’re giving

It’s the world’s smallest cabinet, which is only part of its super dope appeal. For sure you can just play games on a tiny arcade but this could also be the gateway that draws you into the

these high-end gorgeous specimens since

can rent one and take it out on the towpath

a bottle of parties. Cost: $30+ Available:

ardent Arduino community of makers.

2010 and his work just gets more impressive. Seriously, I want one. Cost: from $17 to ~$100 Available: Online at and in person at events like Crafty Mart.

for a test before buying it. Cost: from $499 Available: You can learn more about them online at but you’ll need to mosey into the store to get your new

You can buy direct from Grape and Granary, or at Giant Eagle. Details about the spirits at

Cost: $59 Available: You can get your game online at products/tinyarcade

set of wheels.

Antiques, Collectibles Nostalgia Unique Gifts Furniture Lighting Jewelry Oriental Rugs Artwork Mid-Century Modern

1900 West Market St Sun & Mon 12-5 Tues – Sat 10-5 Akron, OH 44313 216-513-0918 • 516-305-1039 AKRON MUSIC, ART & CULTURE

DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |


Drinks of the Month

Food & Drink

“The Usual” and Brick Oven Brew Pub’s “Black IPA”


Words and Photos by Sam DePaul

Cocktail of the Month: “The Usual” What you need: some deep breaths and a good book. Without going into detail or an unsolicited political rant, I think it’s safe to say, simply, that


words by Holly Brown // photos by Lia Pietrolungo There are two things I know to be true: Tuesdays are for tacos, and nothing warms you up in the transition to winter quite like authentic Mexican food. For that reason, on

the counter and it is riddled with Mexican staples: tacos, burritos, tostadas, as well as some unfamiliar items (at least to me). I’ve got my eye on something called the Cubana next

accompanying pineapple cut it all with sweetness. The bite of the red onions with the sweetness of the fruit created variety with every bite, the kind of genius flavor tension that

perhaps the first of many frigid Tuesdays to come, my anticipation for Taqueria Tres Amigos had doubled.

time I visit, but it was Tuesday and tacos were happening.

a lot of us Akronites are feeling disappointed, doubtful, scared. So instead of sending you off with a complicated list of ingredients and subsequent cleanup, take this simple list of steps, from my lush heart to yours. Turn your phone off/stay away from all the Facebook bullshit for a sec. My go-to is a whiskey ginger and a lemon slice if I’ve got ‘em. Whatever yours is – a glass of wine, a beer, a martini – pour whatever the hell you want.

Bundled up, I pulled my little car into a small parking lot off of Copley Rd. I looked around, surveying the Mexican grocery in front of me, the building which I believed to be the home

I had spotted our fearless food editor, Lia, through the window (another indication that I had arrived at the right location) and joined her at a sunny table in the back. While I quickly read through the menu on the wall, trying

comes with pineapple salsa, at once cutting and forgiving. Take a candle-lit bubble bath • Relax • Sip • Shhhhh • Get tipsy, be hopeful and stay kind • The pork of the carnitas was thicker than that Treat yourself. Love yourself and others always • of the al pastor, but no less tender. The chunks Remember: it’s all gonna be okay • Refill of pork were thin and chewy as pork should be, though it was not so hard to break apart as to Beer of the try for a small bite and come away with a whole

of tacos next door. I braced the cold, removed myself from the car and began to walk toward

desperately to nail down meat selection, the extremely nice and accommodating woman

piece. These were certainly more savory, a little juicy, a lot delicious.

the taqueria.

behind the counter came over to our table to take my order.

I peeked in the window and was greeted

Now perhaps because I wasn’t expecting it, perhaps because it was a last minute game

by chartreuse walls. These walls had struck me during my casual google searches of the

I scrambled a little, knowing I wanted tacos, unsure of which tacos exactly, but intrigued by

time decision, or perhaps because it is just so damn good, the chorizo tacos were my

establishment. There was no way I was in the wrong place. I threw open the door. There are simple tables spread out around the

each and every offer. I blurted out al pastor, because that is my absolute favorite kind of taco and I wasn’t going without it. Quickly, I settled on carnitas and chorizo. My mouth was

favorite of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good chorizo dish, however my problem with chorizo is that it is so greasy that it often overpowers other flavors. This was not the case

room, a TV quietly broadcasting a soap opera in Spanish. Los Tres Amigos has windows that

watering reading this menu, I was getting my order in ASAP.

on this taco Tuesday. This chorizo taco was absolutely outstanding. It was just smoky and

look out onto Copley, though the view of the street is partly obscured by some sheer curtains which allow daylight to stream in. When the sun hits those walls it feels like you are literally

It didn’t take long for the tacos to arrive. As Lia and I caught up with one another, I watched plates of steaming food come out of the

spicy enough to give a kick without hiding the taste of sausage. Though, as with any chorizo, you get some of that run off, there was by no means too much. My taco didn’t leak, didn’t

Month: Brick Oven Brew Pub’s “Black IPA” My name is Sam and pizza and beer make me happy. In addition to their delectable handmade pizzas, Brick Oven Brew Pub in my home neighborhood Ellet – a hole of hidden Akron gems – offers 4 craft beers made on site. In house now is the oatmeal stout, a sweet cream ale, a Fall cider and a tasty black IPA (Indian Pale Ale). The stout is all a gal can ask for, and then some: dark with a luscious, creamy foam. Once you get past the piney aroma, you’ll taste the perfect blend of malt and hops with a subtle bit of citrus- flavors

inside of a key lime. At the back of the dining room is the kitchen with a window open to the restaurant, and a counter where you order

kitchen and my stomach rumbled. I couldn’t wait to be fed.

feel weighed down with the liquid. Rather, the chorizo runoff served as an au jus which, when coupled with cilantro, made this so flavorful

that complimented my basil-y margherita pizza shockingly well. (Their homemade tomato sauce—DUDE. So. Good.) Check out this small

your food.

The tacos were so aesthetically pleasing. Each pile of meat rested on two corn tortillas and

that I’m not sure I will be able to return to Taqueria Los Tres Amigos without getting

The interior is simultaneously modest and striking. It feels more like a Mexican taqueria than anywhere I’ve been on both the east coast

was sprinkled with small bits of onion and cilantro. These tacos have no frills and trust me, they don’t need them.

it again.

and relaxing diner setting with enough beer and pizza to make any lover of this winning combo swoon.

and the Midwest. The menu is plastered to the upper right of


The al pastor was everything I imagined. The pork was tender and savory but the

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

Taco Bajaa Fresh (now) Taqueria Tres Amigos 1444 Copley Rd, Akron. Hours: Sunday 8am-5pm, Mon - Sat 8am-8pm

Brick Oven Brew Pub: 604 Canton Rd. Akron. Hours: Wednesday & Thursday 4 -10pm, Friday & Saturday 11:30am - 11pm, Sunday 11:30am - 10pm, closed Monday & Tuesday.


food & drink

Foodie Humans OF AKRON

// Photos by M. Sophie Franchi

Occupation: Owner at Chin’s Place


Hometown: Akron Current Neighborhood: Akron I love the closeness of the community. The people. Everyone seems so unselfish when it comes to certain things, when they’re willing to give their time and their energy and support each other. . . I’m so excited with the new businesses going in. . . It’s thriving. We’re supporting each other.

Th eB



NOW ON TAP> Jingle Bell Ale

Monday House Margarita Madness Friday Ladies Night - House Martinis

Occupation: The Devil Strip Food & Drink Section Editor; Baker; Feminist; English major; wearer of watches, yet always late Hometown: Voorhees, NJ Current Neighborhood: Highland Square I love how Akron always seems to be unfolding, growing. It has a heartbeat, if that makes any sense. I've never met friendlier, more accepting people than the folks in Akron. And the Metro Parks, the small businesses with big hearts, the creativity, the Akron pride, I could go on for days... Say what you will, but Akron's got soul. I've lived here for about 5 years now, but it feels like Akron has been my home forever. I just friggin’ love it here. Baking is a huge part of my life and my identity. I feel the most like myself/present when I'm in the kitchen. And making bread is probably the most therapeutic thing in the world to me. You gotta love the dough, be patient with it, nurture it, roll with it. Sourdough is life. Drop a line if you ever need some starter! (continued on page 32)


e r a u rewpub in Highland Sq

Happy Hour Daily 3 - 6:30 pm Half-off apps & $3 House Drafts!

Tuesdays: Live Trivia and Thursdays Live Music

"Live Comedy Saturday Nights"

December 2nd and 16th

For details visit or 804 W. Market Street, Akron, OH 44303 • (234) 208-6797 (at the corner of Highland Ave and W. Market St.) NEW Winter Hours: M-W 3pm-midnight, TH 3pm-Close, Fri-Sat 11:30-Close, Sun Noon-Midnight

food & drink (continued from page 31)

SANJU POUDEL Occupation: Restaurant owner, Everest Restaurant Hometown: Nepal, moved to Seattle at age 15 Current Neighborhood: North Hill When we were in Seattle, there was not a lot you could do there because the place was really expensive, and you have to know English or have a car to get a job or anything. But here, there is a lot of opportunity, especially for my parents and relatives. That’s why we moved to Akron, because there are a lot of job openings here and you can find a job easily.

Behind the Bar

Ashley Layland Dublin Hometown: Akron Bar:


by Sam DePaul

What was your first night tending bar like? the most would be Irish Car Bombs. People I've been tending bar for three years now. It's either love them or hate them but the reaction one of the best jobs I've ever after the glass if empty is had. However, my first night always priceless. was very overwhelming. It is not a task that you pick up overnight, it takes time. I remember being so nervous that a customer wouldn't like any of the drinks I made them. I've always been an outgoing person but It is easy to become

What’s your poison when on the other side of the bar? My poison would have to be Tito's and water. I like to keep it simple but tasty. If I'm really feeling dangerous a shot of Patron is my first choice.

nervous when first learning to tend bar. While bartending is a fun and personal job,




We dined at Nuevo on a busy Saturday night. The staff couldn't have been kinder or more efficient, and the food was delicious. I was so pleased with my order (saltando burrito), and other members of our party appeared pleased as well. Our waitress made excellent recommendations for appetizers and entrees, and she was well versed in the new menu items even though the menu had changed only days ago. Thank you, Nuevo! We'll be back!

54 East Mill St. Akron 44308 • (330) 762-8000 1000 E. 9th St. Cleveland 44114 • (216) 737-1000 Hours: M-Th 11-10, F 11-11, Sat 3-11

What is the strangest or most notable conversation you’ve ever had with a patron? One Monday night, I had these two

it also comes with its awkward hardships. Have you had to remove anyone from the establishment? I know I have once or twice, and

women come into my bar that were in town on business from Colorado. We chatted for a few

it turned out to be some of my funniest stories.

hours while they continued to drink and drink. By the end of the night, they were telling me stories about how they smoke Marijuana with their husbands and share each other’s husbands

Unfortunately, I have had to kick out a lot of people in my past three years. It’s is an aspect of the job that is not so great important. As a bartender, you have to be able to handle drunk

several nights a week. I was in disbelief that strangers would feel so comfortable exposing

people that are happy or upset. One night, I had these group of girls that were so drunk

their sex life, but I guess that's a part of the job description – to listen – right? Best tip you ever received? The best tip I

that they sat down and began eating another group’s pizza- some girls that were in the restroom. They did order pizza, and thought it was theirs. Before I could explain to the

ever received was from a group of guys that were out of town from New York, they left me 100 dollars on a 70-dollar tab. Needless to say,

intoxicated ladies that it was not their pizza, the other group of girls came back and beat me to it. The desire for pizza after a night of drinking

that was a great night.

brings out an ugly side of some humans. The ladies began arguing and hitting one another.

Do you have a favorite drink to make? I love making shots, any type. I think it’s one of the best parts of my job. There really is a trial

I had to kick both groups out. And waste all that pizza.

and error part of tending bar that I think people (Photo courtesy of EuroGyro) // Sam DePaul recently embarrassed herself when the car beside her noticed look past. I love experimenting with different her head-banging to and singing “We Didn’t Start the booze. If I had to pick one drink I enjoy making Fire” by Billy Joel at a stoplight.


Music & Entertainment





Music Humans OF AKRON ISMAIL AL-AMIN Occupation: educator, entrepreneur, cultural critic and activist, and youth worker Hometown: Akron Current neighborhood: West Akron I identify myself as a world citizen making the world more livable and pleasant for the voiceless and the underrepresented. I'm in Akron to bring and showcase more urban flavor from around the Globe. ...I love Africa, my Ancestors, my wife Candice, my sons M'Shinda and Azekiel. I love my Keepers of the Art Bruthas. I love dope people who consistently go against the grain in life. I also love the process of creating. I sometimes love creating more than the finished project. (Photo by Shane Wynn)

SARAH JONES Occupation: Comedian Hometown: Morristown, OH Current neighborhood: Highland Square


Annal Vyas (a very important and mysterious Akron man) says I am the Queen of Akron Comedy. So that is now a permanent and recorded fact. I like to inspire people to think. That's my purpose—to make people laugh and think. When the communion between comic and audience rings that sweet tune of "in this moment, we are together," that's what I yearn for. And I have those kinds of moments in my community all the time. In Akron, friends are everywhere. They tell me I'm funny but I say looks aren't everything. (Photo by Paul Hoffman)


Xmas Eve with DJ Larry Xmas Day @ 5pm New Year's Eve bash with DJ joey Mac!

 Book your Holiday Party Now Mondays CuSTomer APPreciATion niGHT� Buy One Drink, Get One 10pm until midnight Compliments of TPH Productions $1.75 Pint Special • $1 off sandwiches DJ Larry starts at 9pm with early trivia


Taco Nights — $1.50 to $3.00 Drink Specials Available


Chef Todd’s Food Specials


$4 Burgers (dine-in only)


12oz Strip Steak $12.00 Cupcakes by Sweet Mary's Bakery. (234) 706-6088


Check Out Our Live Music Schedule


Karaoke hosted by Natalie (Now 9pm to 1am) $0.60 Wings (dine-in only) Super Power Hour • From Open - 8:00pm $3.50 Well Drinks • $3.50 Bud Light Drafts



HAPPY Hour Monday - Friday Until 8pm Mon - Fri open at 2pm Sat & Sun open at 12:30

549 W Market St, Akron Phone: (330) 376-8307



NATALIE GRACE MARTIN Occupation: Musician, teacher, activist Hometown: Wadsworth, OH Current neighborhood: Wadsworth, OH Here's what I like most about Akron. To a kid from a little town (like me), Akron is "the Big City." To any big city kid, however, Akron is just a tiny suburb of Cleveland. Essentially, Akron can be whatever you want it to be. Whether that's a bohemian haven of artists, a nice place to work or raise a family, a venue for an exciting nightlife, a place to make a name for yourself, or a safe community of support, whatever you want; Akron can be that for you. I dig that. ...I identify as a "musical activist," which means that I use my music and stories to spread a message of love, positivity, and perseverance. I'm also a faithful daughter, a doting father, a teacher, a mentor, a loving girlfriend, a surrogate sister and a very proud transgender woman. (Photo self portrait)


Occupation: Musician Hometown: Akron Current neighborhood: Currently living between Akron's west side and Coventry in Cleveland I'm an adventurer. Constantly on the road and always running somewhere...mad hatter style. There are too many books to read and too many songs to write to have a normal career path. You could see me any given day rambling down West Market Street...going nowhere. (Photo by Svetla Morrison)

LUVABSTRACT Occupation: alternative hip-hop artist. Hometown: Stow Current neighborhood: Just moved back to Stow. The main thing I love about Akron is how open they are! I'm not originally from Akron, but all the producers, artist and venues are still welcoming and willing to help me out. I believe that I (Mark) am not from Akron but because of how welcoming Akron is, LuvAbstract was born and raised in Akron. ...The reason I rep Akron is because of the support. Literally, Akron created LuvAbstract. I first recorded in Akron, my graphic designer is in akron, my photographer, my videographer, my producer my dj. I am LuvAbstract only because of this city.




| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12


MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT ANDREW LEASK Occupation: Marketing Manager, United Way of Summit County Hometown: Bayamón, Puerto Rico Current neighborhood: Highland Square I’ve spent the last decade of my life living like a nomad. In ten years, I’ve lived in six cities in four states. I know, it’s a cliché, but what I like most about Akron are the people, who have been nothing but welcoming since I first arrived here a year and a half ago. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where every local is an American citizen, yet almost none of them would refer to themselves as American. My mother is Puerto Rican, my father a Scotsman. I have tan skin and dark hair, but also freckles and a Scottish name. Thanks to fourteen years at an


Occupation: Content Marketing Specialist; freelance journalist; The Devil Strip Music Editor Hometown: Akron Current neighborhood: North Hill What I like best about Akron is both its diversity and sense of community. Each neighborhood in this city has its own identity, and there are "scenes" as well as small, distinct groups within the region, yet there's something that binds us all together. Maybe it's a midwestern thing, but it's not difficult to notice how many hardworking, creative and resourceful people make up the heartbeat of this city. Whether it's an artist, a union worker, a teacher, small business owner, musician, factory laborer, bus driver or restaurateur, each Akronite has a story to tell and works tirelessly day in and day out. ...I identify as your stereotypical Akronite in one sense: I grew up in an Akron suburb and left, swearing I'd never come back to this part of town — and several years later I've returned a proud resident. (Photo by


English-speaking private school, I speak English without an accent. And although Spanish was my first language, after twelve years of living in the states, I can tell it’s fading.

M. Sophie Franchi)

t-shirt guide (continued from page 24) addition to his killer designs for Crafty Mart, The Nightlight, Square Records and The Towpath. Soon, he’ll be kicking it in a brewery in Cuyahoga Falls where you’ll be able to take screen printing lessons with a master. Cost: $22 and up Available: 1707 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, and the store’s always opens online at 14. Swensons If your full belly isn’t enough to show off your love of Swensons, then maybe it’s time you get your own official Galley Boy tee. Cost: $10 Available: Online at swensonsstore 15. University of Akron Bookstore Show off your Zips pride with a full range of

art guide (continued from page 25) Akron grit you know and love. (Photo of one of 9. Hazel Tree Interiors

the Scala pieces hanging in publisher Chris Horne’s

There are all kinds of ways to explore your artsy side at Hazel Tree, from Karen Starr’s interior design and Jon Haidet’s custom framing to locally crafted and ecologically responsible art

house) Cost: $50-$250 Available: In person at Urban Eats Cafe (51 E. Market St., next to Musica), or online at

and furnishings. (Photo courtesy of Hazel Tree

12. Woodrow Nash fine art Multimedia African figural sculptures, books, calendars and framed prints by a local art icon whose books, calendars and framed prints

Interiors) Cost: Varies Available: At the store

at 143 W. Market St. (formerly Norka Futon; adorned with a metal tree on one side and a painted tree on the other) and online at 10. Leandra Drumm art Talent runs in the family, which is evident in Leandra’s pewter switchplates, ornaments and etched drinking glasses featuring whimsical characters and motifs. (Photo courtesy of Don Drumm Studios) Cost: $20-$60 Available: Visit in person at Don Drumm Studios, 437 Crouse

can be purchases for under $100. If you have deeper pockets, one of his fine art sculptures will set you back up to $20,000. Available: Books, calendars and prints for sale online under the “Related Items” tab online at Sculptures available for purchase via the “Contact” tab online (Photo courtesy of Woodrow Nash)

University gear, from logo shirts to an ugly Christmas sweater themed sweatshirt. For some St. and online, just type Leandra Drumm in the reason, you can no longer find shirts celebrating search box at UA’s historic baseball team. Cost: $24.98 and up Available: The main University Bookstore 11. Urban Kanvas

13. Zeber-Martell Studio and Gallery Professional-class pottery in the form of dishes,

in the Student Union, 303 Carroll Street, or the satellite store in the Polsky Building, 225 S. Main Street, both in Akron, and online at

a week at 43 E. Furnace St. in the Northside District and online at


Jason Scala’s black-and-white, highly detailed stencil art on industrial-style plywood canvases features a wide array of pop culture and art historical references with that rough-hewn

Highland Square


LINEUP Friday, 12/2 • 9pm – Midnight Moustache Yourself – Gypsy Jazz Saturday, 12/3 • 9pm – Midnight TBA Sunday, 12/4 • 12 – 3pm Jeri Sapronetti – Classic Rock & Pop Hits & Originals Friday, 12/9 • 7pm – 9pm The Night Travelers – Virtuoso Banjo & Stand up Bass Friday, 12/9 • 9pm – Midnight Mo’ Mojo – Zydeco & Roots Saturday, 12/10 • 9 – Midnight Big Love Hullabaloo with Zach & The Bright Lights – Soul & Inspiring Indie Folk Rock Sunday, 12/11 • 12 – 3pm Little Steve O Blues Duo – Blues Friday, 12/16 • 9pm – Midnight Ray Flanagan & The Authorities – Rock & Roll Saturday, 12/17 • 9pm – Midnight Dan Wilson – Eclectic Sunday, 12/18 • 12 – 3pm Jazz Shepherds – Jazz Friday, 12/23 • 9pm – Midnight Ahi-nama Quintet – Akron’s Only Live Salsa Band Sunday, 12/30 • 12 – 3pm Anthony & Jen – Blues, Jazz, & Old-Time

lamps, tables and more. Pieces are hand-painted with geometric and organic forms inspired by nature. Cost: $30-$400 Available: Seven days

*NO COVER CHARGE HIGHLAND SQUARE: 867 West Market Street Akron, Ohio, 44303 • 330-434-7333

music & entertainment


No Bueno Reviews... by Zep the Bear

Floco Torres / LuvAbstract / Boy Kudzi / Joey Sprinkles Where: It's a Kling Thing!

He is a bit of a triple threat. He is

There are about a half dozen of them scattered around Akron; nondescript houses by day, DIY

a story-teller rapper who can still deliver a banger. He has a nice clean flow that he ratchets down

music venues by night. It's a Kling Thing! is one of them. Just on the periphery of the main campus of the University of Akron, the Kling house is rather ordinary in appearance. The front yard is neat and trim. There is a warm glow emanating from the front windows. But if you walk up the driveway, enter through the side door, and make a hard right down the steps to the basement, you enter another world. White cabinets that have been stenciled with the venue name and a crude cityscape serve as stage

to a gravelly bark when needed. And, perhaps most importantly, he is stacked with charisma. He has a contagious smile and positive demeanor that commands attention.

decoration. A lone microphone stand is positioned in the middle of the room. To the left,

Pictured left: Floco Torres

a DJ has set up his laptop in front of a washer. The right side of the room contains a dryer with

his aspiration of owning a Porsche, he comes off hopeful, not materialistic. His content is more dreamy than

speakers stacked on top of them. Orange extension cords crisscross the floor. A cute redhead is making her way through the crowd passing out stickers that she designed herself. The basement is full of people. The space is snug but the vibe is chill.

Even during songs like "'87 911" where Torres recounts

lustful. Most rappers tend to trip over braggadocio on their way to success. Torres confirmed the rumor circulating that he will be relocating to Akron in January. He played his last hometown gig in October. Pictured right: Joey Sprinkles

Usually, the music alone is the draw for these type of shows. Tonight is a little different. Floco Torres will be performing. There is a buzz in

It seems like a prudent decision. After years of

the crowd.

polishing his act in the

Hot Like The Sun

relatively insulated Macon scene, now he will be within driving distance of Cleveland, Columbus,

Torres takes the stage just after ten o'clock. Dressed in black from head-to-toe, the Philly emcee--by way of Macon, GA.--galloped through a six-song set of infectious hip-hop.

Torres mesmerized the small but furious crowd. The set felt short but left everyone with the feeling that there will be much more to come. It's often said that you only get one

Voted the best local hip-hop artist four years chance to make a first impression. Torres didn't in a row in Macon, I sense shades of other make an impression, he made a statement. emcees in him. He has the evocative shrug of Kid Cudi and the soulful warmth, sans the overt spirituality, of Brother Ali.

never forget. It was a moment when I admired more profoundly the beauty of nature entirely different from what I know after 30 years of my existence on earth. As I walked through the neighborhood on that memorable day, all I

When: November 14, 2016 Time: 7:00 PM

Halfway House

(continued from page 18)

My Bars Are Excellent, My Cars Are Excellent Boy Kudzi (Akron) started the evening with a short, tight set of hip-hop. He has a contemporary swag that provided just the right note to begin the evening. LuvAbstract (Akron) was up to bat next. With

could see was snow and everything was crystal white. That was truly amazing, startling and beautiful new experience for me. The happiness made me forget how cold and freezing it was and kept pushing me to move around until I come to accidentally meet the famous and legendary American sculptor and craftsman Don Drumm. I did not know him but he was welcoming and nice to me even without knowing me and without any prior notification accepted to be in my selfie video which went viral with over 23k views and about 300 shares. What was it like to learn who Don Drumm was after meeting him on your walk? When I returned from the walk, I was beaming with smile and happiness because of the joyful snow experience. I showed my host mother Judy Casey all the videos I shot and she told me the person I met was a famous person called Don Drumm. I just Googled and read about him and then I began to reflect about how welcoming, simple, peaceful and approachable he was to me. It reinforced my impression of Akron as a welcoming community. That was the

a name like "LuvAbstract," I was expecting straight RnB, but Abstract is a versatile rapper. He worked hard on stage and delivered some catchy hooks. He had the crowd in the palm of his hands by the end of the set.

reason why I posted that video. I am happy the video brought some feeling of happiness and joy to Akronites.

Joey Sprinkles (Akron). Sprinkles was probably the most compelling of the supporting acts. Performing after Torres, he played a scratchy, fuzzy set of garage-punk-pop over a

to your video? I have never felt more welcomed, appreciated and loved in my life than what I received from Akronites as a response to that video. It opened doors for me to meet very amazing and

grouchy electric guitar and whining keyboard. Visually, he is clean cut, but his music leans toward experimental and is oddly catchy.

Now that you've become famous in Akron, what do you think of the reaction

great personalities like Chris Miller of (Akron Community Foundation), Shane Wynn (The

Devil Strip,; Tom Ghinder (Akron Promise), Michelle Boasten and Linda Mckinney (You Can Care, Inc.), and Frank Azona (former candidate for Ohio State Legislature). On many - Zep the Bear occasion, I meet people who easily recognize

Cincinnati, Chicago, and Detroit--not to mention

me, present gifts to me and take pictures with me. What an amazing transformation. I am forever grateful to Akron, Ohio.

the Akron scene which is low-key white hot.

(Photo by Shane Wynn)


pleasure of delivering food here or picking up a fare in my cab back in the ‘90s, I would say to myself, “I just won the workday lottery!.”

the five people that used to hang out there are sadly no longer with us. Also gone is what used to be my favorite storefront sign

I can't remember any customers treating me better in my working career than they did in this place.

in Akron. It was a crudely painted blue and white image of King Kong on top of the Empire State Building. By crudely, I mean you

This walk-in closet consisted of a bar, pool

had to squint to figure out what you were looking at. What a visual joy to behold.

Nestled on a hilly bend of Johnston Street in Akron's south side sits a potential goldmine. This is a quaint little area of our town that I like to call ‘Little West Virginia.’ I've

table and about six bar stools. I always marveled at the fact that, despite it's size, it could still run at 25 percent capacity. For years, Big Al’s was a model in minimalist

All this baby needs is a little elbow grease and the same kind of pioneering vision that amazed all that entered. Couple that with

referenced this charismatic landmark of a bar many times over the years. Any time I had the

hospitality. They set the standard.

five regular customers and a sign that was painted during a bumpy car ride and you'll be

Why did it close? I can only assume that

able to retire early. You can thank me later.

by Leslie Shirley Nielsen

Big Al's Address: 847 Johnston St.


| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12

>> The Bar Crawler is on vacation. See you next month! — Leslie Shirley Nielsen


misc. (continued from page 17)

he got out and started

lose to his addiction.

time, which he has since come to suspect was the dirty needle that gave him Hepatitis C.

doing better. He had a little boy, Connor, and checked in with his parole officer, stayed

Something had to be in tears because I always thought I was a change but he didn’t hopeless case, that nothing was ever going to know what. If he hadn’t be bad enough to make me want to stop." hit bottom yet what

sober and held a stable job. But drugs crept back into his life and

would it take? He kept looking for answers.

This is what he was saying to an “old-timer” named Ralph, a suburbanite who seemed to be Red’s polar opposite. Ralph’s response changed

Corcoran and met up with his mother in Chicago. Over the preceding 11-year period, he was never out of prison for more than six months at a time. However, he wasn’t turning

everything quickly changed. It almost cost Connor’s life.

“I’d go to meetings, and I'd hear these addicts say, ‘You can't get help until you hit


over a new leaf in the Windy City. “We went on the run together out there. She

“I had my son over one weekend. I dropped an 80-milligram Oxycontin

your bottom.’ And that used to just throw me in this huge spiral

to be an incident. Your bottom is a decision. The bottom is when you make a choice that no matter what you're going to do whatever it

did her thing. And I did mine. And we kind of

on the floor, and I was

of despair. Because

takes to never pick up again. You have to make

teamed up. It was a really sick mother-and-son drug team. We'd shoot each other up,” he says. “I could find my mom’s veins better than

on the couch all nodded out and high as hell. I saw him put something

I would think, ‘How is this son of a bitch going to sit across from

that decision every day for the rest of your life."

she could.”

in his mouth, and it was through the grace of God that I got up and pulled the pill out of his mouth because it

 Red was 29 years old when he got out of

It ended badly in Chicago too. He landed in the

hospital after a violent altercation with a police would have killed him.” officer. Red says he escaped naked in the middle of winter, but got caught and ended up back in  prison. When his stint was up, Red returned to Northeast Ohio, joining his mom here.

"Let me explain it to you so you understand it,” he told Red. "Your rock bottom isn't going

That’s when Red finally put the shovel down.

me and tell me he hit He was done digging past rock bottom. He was his bottom at 40 years old because he got his done with heroin. first DUI? I've done 11 years in prison. I've lost a kid. I've got Hepatitis C, B, D, E, Q. I'm insulindependent. I'm diabetic. I can't hold a job. I'm living in a trailer with three kids and a wife, and I’m still digging. I haven’t found a bottom.’”

He was soon in trouble again, and he ended

Red lost custody of Connor and came back to Ohio where he stayed clean for a short time. He met his current wife and started going to

It was January 11, 2015. Red was in detox again, but he’d done that 10 times before. He’d

up getting flown back to California. This time,

meetings but he still felt like he was going to

overdosed a few too.

(continued on page 13) names for a city that didn't exist, but if it makes the story come alive just a little bit more, I jot it down in my binder and move on to the

CS: Knowledge, relationships and new experiences certainly make writing easier, and although this is a work of fiction, I did a lot of research while writing it (I know a lot

park simply felt normal. I've also had a lot of jobs, including designing tires at Goodyear, being a mail carrier, teacher, and even learning how to create a bar when I helped design

next thing.

more about lock-picking, steam engines, and mountain climbing now than when I started). I definitely agree that even fantastical fiction only manages a healthy suspension of disbelief if it roots in some truth. Imagination needs real experiences to vault off of.

MA: As a writer, I have often heard the advice, "Write what you know." While I'm skeptical of taking any writing rule and sticking to it too strongly, I think it is true that much of what we write, however fantastical, finds its origin in our own Looking back at the book, I feel if you squint experience. Have you found this to be true your mind's eye, you can see this alternate-

The Nightlight. Ultimately, I think being a good listener really helps one to become a good writer. Whenever I travel or meet someone new, I want to pay attention, see the details and see the truth. I never know when a new

in your writing? In other words, what realworld inspiration did you draw upon while

history version of Akron, which is where I grew up. As a kid, seeing blimps flying over

experience is going to make the perfect addition to a

creating the world of your story?

this quirky, industrial city nestled in a national

new chapter.


"As I would stick the needle in my arm, I would

Red’s story doesn’t end here. It continues in January when we’ll learn more about his commitment to sobriety and the incredible obstacles he still had to overcome.

The first two books of “Valley of Progress”— ”Chigou” and “The Murde Mountains”— can be purchased online at Be sure to enhance your reading experience by visiting, where you can access artwork of the city, soundbites of the valley, maps, and illustrations that make the city come alive. Cory Sheldon will be signing copies of his book at Book Up, People: Akron Book Signing on December 22nd, from 6 - 8 pm at Square Records.

DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12 /

THE Devil Strip |


back of the book

Urine Luck single-staller. All okay and up to our standards. Working sink, working toilet, diaper changing station, soap, towels: the requirements were met. Air quality? I’ve smelled worse (and better). But satisfactory doesn’t drive a four or five toilet rating, here, folks! Visual interest?

Fair Enough at Earth Fare, or Earth without Art is just "eh" by Marissa Marangoni I went for the bathrooms, but I left with so much more. It’s a good thing, too. For one, Earth Fare is a grocery store, not a dedicated bathroom house. And for two, well, you’ll just have to read on to find out. I remember when Earth Fare opened. They

Artsy Fartsy at the Akron Art Museum

offered free frozen chickens to anyone who walked in their doors to celebrate their opening. Pretty nice, right? Does anyone know

if a frozen chicken that is 6+ years old is still safe to eat? Asking for a friend. Maybe another free frozen chicken would redeem this bathroom experience. I hate to dig on EF; I really like the place. And the facilities won’t stop me from shopping there (unless I am banned after writing this review). However. Something could be done to improve the toilet game. I expected a little more swag. Partially white-tiled and yellow painted walls, tiled floor,

can guarantee I won’t. I’ll be hauling a car seat, and, well, I’m not going drag that thing out of the store and then into another if I don’t absolutely have to. Plus, Hobby Lobby doesn’t

There’s nothing to see while you do your business here. Maybe a shot of wheatgrass

have groceries. Hobby Lobby doesn’t have much besides a lot of overpriced string and a maze of buttons that somehow fails to include

from the hot foods/smoothie counter could liven up the experience if you drink it really fast.

that one damn button that shouldn’t be hard to match but is.

I like the sign about employees needing to wash their hands. In general, though, shouldn’t everyone wash their hands after they touch

Earth Fare has the groceries. And that rock

a toilet? America, let’s get on board here. In addition to the somewhat interesting sign is

a record sheet of who cleaned the bathroom when. Cleaning logs are never that interesting, but I realize now that maybe I should have looked at it because in addition to being a boring bathroom, the space felt a little dirty. Surfaces were wet, stray toilet paper pieces littered the floor, and there wasn’t a whole lot in this little spot that made me want to make this my emergency bathroom location. If you’re a germophobe, you might even opt to use the facilities at Hobby Lobby a few doors down

The public restrooms at the Akron Art Museum are in a hallway on the first floor, past the front

stainless steel stalls and high ceilings. It has a nice mix of dark and light colors. I bet this bathroom gets loud during events. There are some interesting looking vents or exhaust fans on the ceiling with a spiral layout of vanes or something. I don’t think this is art, though.

desk and the coffee/snack stand. I bet there

Art museum patrons will find a well-stocked

like an awesome way to bring art out of the confines of a museum and into everyday spaces. The art museum should think about

are swankier restrooms elsewhere, but I am not fancy enough to know about those. I tend to want a place’s bathroom to be reminiscent of the place in which it is located.

bathroom with 10 stalls, one of which is handicapped and two of which seem to be perpetually out of order. The toilets have a serious cone shape (is this just me?) and are

adding some art to their bathroom if they really want to make art more accessible. Why shouldn’t a museum bathroom be just as exciting as other parts of the museum?

I like when content and form meet. Maybe everyone else thinks this too, but when the

automatic flush, so make sure to have a good A white toilet is a wonderful blank canvas. toilet-flush dance at the ready. The toilet did not This bathroom is not living up to its

electoral college of bathrooms convened, they decided to screw the popular vote. Or maybe everyone is just like, “Shut up. It’s only

flush until I left the stall.

a bathroom.” It’s not just a bathroom. This is a major part of our lives, damnit.

from the stalls. The sinks are automatic, too, so it’s likely that some will not work. Friends, this bathroom has a changing table--rejoice! It’s

The women’s restroom at the art museum feels cavernous and sterile with its numerous

flush against the wall (until you pull it down, obviously) and across from the handicap stall.

by Marissa Marangoni

instead. I’d like to say that I might, too, but I

that mists good-smelling stuff on you as you get in the checkout line. So while Earth Fare’s women’s restroom gets just a 2.5 out of 5 toilets from me, I have no plans to avoid their aisles any time soon. Plus, they have those dried mangoes. Once you eat one, you can’t stop there. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

// Marissa doesn’t have a friend with an old Earth Fare chicken in the freezer. She has the chicken. :( Want Twitter, more UL insider secrets? Follow us on @urin3luck.

It’s also right next to a trashcan. The art museum is partnering with the Akron Summit County Public Library to create a

lending library of art. This program sounds

potential, but it’s clean and bright, so it earns 3 out 5 toilets.

A row of sinks and soap dispensers is across // Emily Dressler wants to be a bathroom ambassador for Akron. Follow @urin3luck on instagram and pee your pants laughing.

25. Joanna Wilson, “Triple Dog Dare” The latest book by our favorite prolific pop

26. Mila Jaroniec, “Plastic Vodka Bottle Sleepover”

27. Cory Sheldon, “Valley of Progress” Check out our Q&A with local author Cory

24. James Segedy, editor, “The Akron Anthology” Belt Magazine’s wide-ranging collection

culture Christmas author, Akron’s Joanna Wilson, is perhaps her most impressive because she goes deep into “A Christmas Story” while

A native New Yorker turned Akronite, Jaroniec delivers a highly praised debut novel —“...a razor-sharp meditation on loneliness in sex,

Sheldon (pg. 13) then buy the first couple books of his series for your favorite bookworm. Cost: Archive 1 - “The Murde Mountains” is

of essays and stories about Akron includes an introduction by David Giffels and a contributions by Rita Dove and Emilia Sykes,

testing her limits by watching Bob Clark’s classic under capitalism, in the face of mortality, even in the arms of those we claim to love…” film on repeat during Turner Broadcasting’s Cost: $16 Available: In bookstores or online annual 24-hour TV marathon. Cost: $19.99 at Available: In local bookstores or online at

8 akron books (continued on page 27)

among others. Cost: $16.99 Available: In bookstores or online at


$6.95; Book 1 - “Chigou” is $14.95. Available:: In bookstores or online at

| THE Devil Strip / DECEMBER 2016 • VOL 2 • ISSUE #12


Your Complete News Coverage Tune in to 89.7 or download the WKSU app for in-depth local, national and world news.

WKSU, an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, is committed to attaining excellence through the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce. 16-UR-00310-126

Photography by Ilenia Pezzaniti

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Saturday Large sashimi combo

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The Devil Strip, Dec. 2016 (Vol 2., Issue 12)  

We're looking up and ahead, not behind in this, the last issue of 2016. Inside you'll get to meet almost three dozen of our favorite Akronit...

The Devil Strip, Dec. 2016 (Vol 2., Issue 12)  

We're looking up and ahead, not behind in this, the last issue of 2016. Inside you'll get to meet almost three dozen of our favorite Akronit...