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The Devil Strip APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3 • THEDEVILSTRIP.COM


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

l l a M e H Tis dead! e v i l g n Lo p u p o P e TH Johnny Joo is the Most Interesting Person We Know

Why we LOVE Crafty Mart

Questions with cat-lovin', marathon-running stand-up comic Liz Miele

Photo Essay

SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE words and photos by Maxarmando Rivera

I constantly am taught valuable lessons through creation. It is very easy for us to walk throughout life, thinking we have the ultimate perspective, yet missing out on the much bigger picture. Humbling isn't it? Sad that we can walk by the same thing over and over, yet miss out on all that it has to offer. And when you think you seen it all, shift your perspective.


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


This issue

Welcome to

The Devil Strip

inside this issue


Akron Music, Art & C

Photo Essay..........................................................2 Full disclosure: I’m not just “on board” with Crafty Mart; I’m actually on their nonprofit board. A conflict of interests? Nope. My interests align pretty perfectly there. I love me some Akron and I think Crafty Mart is one of the best things we have going for us. Even if I weren’t on the board, I’d have said yes to the feature about this quirky little bi-annual event going from a two-person daydream to become a threevenue monster whose cute, hand-knit tentacles now reach into our lives every month during the downtown Artwalks. When Brit Charek asked me to be secretary (because I’m notoriously well-organized), my brain screamed, “No! Too busy! Too dang busy!” But my heart got to my fingers first so I emailed back yes. The first Crafty Mart poster I saw made me think, “Oh, that’s cool. Being so close to Cleveland means we can go to cool stuff like that—WAIT! That says it’s in Akron!” See, I don’t know nothing about nothing about no crafts but it looked like fun and when we took our kid, I felt like the one in a candy shop. Akron is not Cleveland, nor should is “aspire” to be, but I love stealing a good idea and making it our own, which is what these crafty Akronites did. The more this happens, I think, the better. Someone told me they described The Devil Strip as “like the Cleveland Scene but better because it’s about Akron.” That’s how I feel: Better because it’s about Akron. The same will be true for Unbox Akron too.

performing in local venues. It’ll be a stripped down, music-centric show like “Austin City Limits.” We record the first “Akron City Limits” (y’all got a better name?) live at Musica on Friday, May 8 at the tour send-off for Shivering Timbers. More on that to come.

Area Events..........................................................4

Finally, help me welcome aboard Abby Cymerman, our first managing editor. If her name seems familiar, that’s because she’s an Akronite born and raised who has, over the course of 20 years, written about everything from drug busts to water-skiing squirrels. She brings a wealth of local knowledge and an extra set of hands to help manage the stories flowing out of this great, growing group of freelancers who make our paper possible.

Reading Comics in Public.....................................6

She probably could have kept me from totally FUBAR-ing the “Women Who Rock” spread Maria Varonis wrote and Chelsae Ketchum shot. I didn’t catch the formatting errors that ran direct quotes into intro text, rendering them indistinguishable from one another. Nor did I properly credit the fantastic, rockstar photos Chelsae took. Plus, I made an edit in the copy that read like Gretchen Pleuss took guitar lessons with Willy Porter at age 12 when what really happened is that he suggested she start playing. I screwed up an otherwise awesome bit of writing and for that, I hope the creators, subjects and readers of that piece know I’m very, very sorry. The full, uncut version is now online.

Only in Akron....................................................11

Take care, Chris

In the Kitchen....................................................18

Speaking of stealing good ideas and making them ours, we’re buddying up with The Akronist on a live-recorded video series featuring local musicians

Connect the Arts.................................................5 Out & About........................................................7

Diggin In..............................................................9 Knowhere............................................................9 In Case You Missed It.........................................10

Dina’s Days........................................................12 New / Native......................................................13 Community........................................................14 Cover Story: Crafty Mart....................................15 Somethings Brewing…......................................17

Pizza and Jojos...................................................19 Film & Feast.......................................................20 The Dish............................................................20 The Wanderer....................................................21



Office: (330) 842-6606 Publisher: Editor: General Info: Advertising: Distribution:

Website: Facebook: Twitter: @akrondevilstrip Instagram: @thedevilstrip

Publisher >> Chris Horne Managing Editor >> Abby Cymerman Art Director >> Alesa Upholzer Illustration and design >> Bronlynn Thurman, Edgar Woolley Photographers >> Shane Wynn, Svetla Morrison Contributing Writers >> Holly Brown, Jenny Conn, Jessica Conti, Abby Cymerman, Katelyn Gainer, Jaclyn Geier, M. Sophie Hamad, Noor Hindi, Jecca, Chris Kessinger, Isaac Kelley, Eric Morris, Kris Morrison, Brittany Nader, Bronlynn Thurman, Liz Tyran, Maria Varonis, Katie Wheeler, Dina Younis

8 questions........................................................22 Music Listings....................................................24 The Scene..........................................................25 Bars / Nightlife..................................................26 On Stage With...................................................27 Comic Strips and Puzzles....................................30 The Most Interesting Person We Know...............31

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


APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |


Arts, Culture & Entertainment


Ongoing BAD JEWS Opens April 16 at Actors’ Summit Greystone Hall, 103 S High St, Akron Cousins battle for a sacred family heirloom. She is the family “superjew,” he the assimilated atheist. The atheist has Grandpa’s medal. The believer wants it. Somebody’s going to get it.

GIRLS’ NITE WITH NOTO 5pm at Zeber-Martell Clay Studio (FREE) 43 Furnace St, Akron Mark your calendar for Zeber-Martell's annual Girls' Nite. The annual event returns with grab bags and drawings plus food, fun and refreshments! NOTO will be set up shop in the side gallery, showing our latest spring and summer finds! It's a casual, fun night out.

WHITE GOD Opens April 17 at Nightlight Cinema 30 N High St, Akron Thirteen-year-old Lili fights to protect her dog Hagen. She is devastated when her father eventually sets Hagen free on the streets. Still innocently believing love can conquer any difficulty, Lili sets out to find her dog and save him.

GRAPE ESCAPE 7pm at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad ($59) Akron Northside Station, 27 Ridge St Enjoy a wine tasting on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, featuring hors d’oeuvres and five wine samples. Also includes a CVSR commemorative tasting glass.

CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD Through April 19 at Coach House Theater 732 W Exchange St, Akron A gifted young teacher at a school for the deaf falls in love with one of his students. See this local production at Coach House Theater.

Tuesday, April 14 THEATRE: LIFEBOAT 7:30 pm at Daum Theatre (tix $6–$12) Kolbe Hall at the University of Akron Final local performance of “Lifeboat” by the Catherine Wheels Company of Scotland. Written by Nicola McCartney and directed by Gill Robertson, it tells the true story of two 15-year-old girls on their harrowing voyage from Liverpool to Canada as evacuees from Britain during World War II whose boat was torpedoed and sunk. The young girls spent 19 hours holding onto an upturned lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. Call (330) 972-7895 to reserve tickets.

Wednesday, April 15

Fans of action films know that The Fast and the Furious movies are some of the greatest action movies of all time. They're dumb in all the right ways while also managing to be smart in the right ways. The series is bigger than ever after 15 years of moviemaking because the filmmakers have put the characters first, weaving an elaborate mythology of interlocking narratives set in a world where all worthwhile crimes happen in extremely fast-moving cars. In honor of the theatrical release of seventh film in the series, Furious Seven, Stephanie Baker and Katie Sekelsky of the OSC Tech Lab are hosting FastFest, a twelve-hour NOS-fueled marathon viewing party. Over the course of the day, they will be presenting the first six FF films, as well as the lit-


tle-seen short feature, Los Bandeleros. FastFest attendees are encouraged to come in costume, dressed as their favorite character from the series, or even their favorite car. There will be assorted Fast and Furious merriment, including iconic food and drink from the films. “It will be a day celebrating friendship, much as the Fast and Furious movies do, but with less crime,” Baker says. FastFest's quarter-mile journey begins at 10 am, Saturday, April 18 in the OSC Tech Lab at 12 East Exchange St. in downtown Akron.

| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3

Friday, April 17

WEST CEDAR & WEST EXCHANGE CORRIDOR MEETING 5pm at the Main Library (FREE) 60 S High St, Akron The City of Akron is hosting an open meeting to discuss proposed changes to West Exchange St and West Cedar St, between South Portage Path and South Broadway. There is a welldocumented crash history along these two roads, which the City proposes to improve through upgrading traffic signals and “right sizing” the roadways.

Saturday, April 18 RECORD STORE DAY 11am at Square Records 824 W Market St, Akron Celebrate the music industry’s biggest holiday at Square Records, including limited and exclusive releases from hundreds of artists. Check for a full list of available albums. RUBBER CITY SLOW CYCLE 12 noon at Lock 3 ($2) 200 S Main St, Akron Join Summit Cycling Center for a quirky and fun bike race. The principle of this race is quite simple: The loser wins. The winner is the cyclist who crosses the finish line in the slowest time. POINT OF NO RETURN IMPROV 7:30pm at Newell Theater ($5) 1201 Grant Ave, Cuyahoga Falls PNR performs short-form improvisational comedy. We ask for a suggestion from the audience and then invent a scene that is somehow inspired by that suggestion. In shortform improv, those scenes often have rules that make doing the scene more challenging -- perhaps the actors are limited to a certain number of words, or one actor has to guess who the other characters are, or the scene must be played as if it came from a movie belonging to a specific genre. It’s sure to be hilarious! NOBODIES OF COMEDY 8pm at Akron Civic Theatre ($27) 182 S Main St, Akron It’s the best "unknown" comedians from across the country rolled into one hilarious show. No over-hyped stars... just hilarious comics and a great night out with guaranteed laughs that will give you no time to breathe!

Thursday, April 16 AKRON ROUNDTABLE: #AKRONLEADER 12 noon at Quaker Station ($20) 135 S Broadway, Akron The Akron Beacon Journal series Who Will Lead has stimulated conversations across the community about future civic leadership. Akron Roundtable will host a dialogue with a panel of Akron changemakers that will build on the perspectives presented in the Beacon Journal series, unearthing new angles and insights to move the conversation forward.

Tuesday, April 21 TOUR OF THE AKRON CIVIC THEATRE 12 noon at Akron Civic Theatre (FREE) 182 S Main St, Akron Learn the history of the theatre and some "behind the scenes" information. The tour is approximately an hour and fifteen minutes. This tour is intended for children 13 yrs and older. Please call 330-535-3179 to reserve your spot because it fills up quick!


Arts, Culture & Entertainment Wednesday, April 22 ARTCETERA: WINE & CANVAS 6pm at Palladian Palette ($15) 30 N High St, Akron Join ArtCetera for Wine & Canvas painting (details to be announced). Not a member of ArtCetera? No problem! We look forward to meeting you.

Friday, April 24 CRAFTY MART PREVIEW GALA 5pm at Summit Artspace ($15) 140 E Market St, Akron Head to Crafty Mart’s first Preview Gala for a chance to meet vendors, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and bid on handmade raffle items and gift cards!

sure to have fun at this milestone celebration. More than a celebration, Walk A Mile has been our center piece in awareness building on the issues of sexual violence for ten years, brining levity to a very serious issue.

Saturday, April 25 OPEN M WALK/5K 8am at Spagetti Warehouse ($25) 510 S Main St, Akron Join OPEN M’s first Walk/5k! OPEN M stands for Opportunity for People Everywhere in Need Ministry. We are a faith-based ministry that helps people meet the spiritual and physical challenges of living with scarce resources.

Don’t be too chicken to check out what’s happening in Barberton

HIGHLAND SQUARE BLOCK TO LOCK 10am at Highland Square Library (FREE) WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES 807 W Market St 5pm at Lock 3, Akron Gather at 10am at the Highland Square Library Join the 10th annual Rape Crisis Center’s for a Ward 1 meeting with Councilman Rich signature fundraising event. Whether it is Swirsky, then bike down to the Mustill Store your first year wobbling into the park in pink for some food and tunes by the Acid Cats. Bike platforms or you're a veteran in Versace you are rentals are available!

If you’re like me when you think of Barberton, your first thought is of their famous chicken. What most people might not know is that it’s now home to an up-and-coming arts district along the main strip on West Tuscarawas Avenue, cutting through the heart of downtown from Wooster Road to 6th Street. Right or wrong, Barberton was the last place I imagined I’d find an arts district. I only recently discovered it existed when an artist-friend told me how he had recently become involved with the project. So I went for a visit. As I walked down West Tuscarawas, I could see a number of arts organizations and businesses now call the arts district home: Nine Muses Art Gallery, Kave Coffee Bar, the Magical Theatre Company, Snowball Bookstore and the Art Center on Tusc (ACoT). Community Arts Director Emily Speelman says her sole responsibly is to “host, engage and grow the arts community in Barberton.” Working for Neighborhood Development Services, Inc., but with the city of Barberton government and the mayor’s office, Speelman says the effort has served the community’s desire for more arts programming and helped stimulate the local economy.

GAIL CARSON LEVINE 2pm at Hudson Library (FREE) 96 Library St, Hudson Award-winning children’s author Gail Carson Levine will discuss her new book Stolen Magic, as well as the writing process and her experiences as a successful author, followed by a book signing. Levine is best known for Ella Enchanted, which was selected as a Newbery Honor Book and was made into a film starring Anne Hathaway. MEN WHO COOK 5pm at Akron Art Museum ($60) 1 S High St, Akron Join Summa Health System and greater Akron’s top amateur male chefs for a delicious culinary competition and savory night of fundraising at the 14th annual Men Who Cook event. Men Who Cook is a fundraiser that directly benefits an area that provides care or services to the patients and communities served by Summa Health System.

CRAFTY MART PRESENTS: THE MOM & POP SHOPPE 10am in Downtown Akron (FREE) Join Crafty Mart for their 6th annual spring marketplace, including a record 90 vendors at Musica, the Akron Art Museum and Summit ArtSpace. In addition, four Crafty Mart vendors are hosting workshops on making looms, kombucha, terrariums and sugar scrubs.

Sunday, April 26 50 WAYS TO WEAR A SCARF 11am at Akron Art Museum (FREE) One S High St, Akron A special shopping opportunity just in time for

“Through the efforts of everyone working together, we have been able to bring the arts to Barberton through gallery shows, classes, talks and soon public art displays,” Speelman says. Somewhat skeptical, I mentioned neighboring arts districts, like the downtown Canton arts district, which is home to the popular First Friday series. Not to mention, Downtown Akron Art Walk and a multitude of arts businesses and organizations in Cleveland. How could Barberton compete? “I feel our closeness and connectivity as a community is one of the main things that helps us stand out from other districts, not only location-wise but as businesses, customers, neighbors and friends.” Speelman’s enthusiasm about their arts district is infectious as she explains what she sees happening there in the future. “I hope to see artists working together to form a community where people can learn from each other, work together, and all around make the world a better, brighter place,” Speelman says, “I’d like to see Barberton come alive with activities for everyone and really have people of all walks see Barberton as a place with not only great chicken—if that’s your thing—but as a place with a thriving arts scene that is open and welcoming to all.” I found a Barberton that’s easy to root for as an underdog in the arts world. If you’re interested in learning more about getting involved in the arts district you can contact Speelman at or sign up for their newsletter at

Upcoming events Every Thursday: Open Mic Night at Nine Muses Every Friday: Live Music at Nine Muses (except opening receptions) April 18th: Art on Tusc - an exhibition featuring the works of Barberton Public School students. 2-5 p.m. at Nine Muses April 24th: Opening Reception for HOARD: the belongings of a monster April 24-May 18: HOARD: the belongings of a monster at Nine Muses Early May (TBA): Reveal of Mural in Barberton Arts District May 4th: Classes being at The Art Center on Tusc - (ACoT) May 22nd: TESLIN Group Show Opening Reception at Nine Muses May 22nd - June 19th: TESLIN Group Show at Nine Muses ____________________________________ By Katelyn Y. Gainer. Katelyn is the arts columnist for The Devil Strip and an art history graduate student at Kent State who works as a gallery assistant for a small arts nonprofit. She loves promoting Northeast Ohio’s thriving arts community. You can find her on Twitter at @katelyngainer

Photo credit should go to Emily Speelman/Barberton Arts District.


APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |


Get ready for the Slide of your life!

Slide the City Promo Code: SLIDEUNITED

offiCial Charity of the akron event

Sunday, auguSt 2, 2015 • akron Yep, it’s coming! Slide the City is coming to downtown Akron on Sunday, August 2nd and United Way of Summit County is the event’s Official Charity. Registration opens Wednesday, April 15 at 9 a.m. at Find the Akron event and use promo code “SLIDEUNITED” to save 10% on the registration fee AND for 15% of the registration fee to be donated to United Way.

Want to Volunteer?

United Way’s Volunteer Center will help organize volunteers for the Slide the City event. Volunteer crews are needed for set up, event support and clean up. 16 years old or older only, please. Younger kids can enjoy the event with their families. Visit to register as a volunteer or contact the United Way Volunteer Center at or 330.643.5512 for more information.

about Slide the City

One thousand feet of slick vinyl will brighten downtown Akron’s city streets on Sunday, August 2nd, 2015. That’s more than the length of three football fields! Slide the City is a family friendly slip-and-slide water party event. There will be live music, food, drinks, water, and of course the biggest slip and slide ever to hit the asphalt (don’t worry, it will be padded). Make sure to bring your water buckets, floaties and other water toys to squirt, spray, splash and do your best to get all attending soaked.

Use promo code Slideunited to save 10% on the registration fee AND for 15% of the registration fee to be donated to United Way! Follow us on social media for the latest updates – it will be the slide of your life!

beCauSe Great thinGS haPPen When We liVe united. United Way of Summit County uWSuMMit.orG

Arts, Culture & Entertainment Mother’s Day! Lauren Ward from NOTO will be at the Akron Art Museum selling a variety of items from her boutique. AKRON2AKRON: EAST AKRON 2pm in East Akron/Middlebury (FREE) Meeting location TBD Join a walking tour of East Akron. Walking tours are a great way to learn about neighborhoods in our city, engage in meaningful dialogue, meet new friends, and think big about how to utilize space in Akron. See Akron2Akron on facebook or twitter for more information. AKRON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL 125TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION 1pm at Kay Jeweler’s Pavilion, Akron Children’s Hospital (FREE) 177 W Exchange, Akron Akron Children’s Hospital will be giving tours of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion, the new medical tower that was built in 2015 to meet the growing needs of the hospital. There will be multiple family-friendly activities and entertainment throughout the day, including a formal ribbon cutting and statement from the hospitals CEO, Mr. Bill Considine.

PLAN AHEAD Thursday, May 7 “A DAY WITH JOHN HOCKENBERRY” Actors’ Summit Theatre at Greystone Hall Live broadcast of “The Takeaway,” which marks the veteran newsman’s return to his roots in public radio, where he was one of the medium’s original innovators, after 15 years in network and cable television. He's earned four Emmy Awards, three Peabody Awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award and a Casey Medal. Hockenberry has also been recognized for his pioneering online content and currently sits as a Distinguished Fellow at the prestigious MIT Media Lab. The Gold Circle reception is at Greystone Hall in downtown Akron. Tickets available at www. or call 330-672-3114.

PARKS & REC Wednesday, April 15 NATURE DRAWING FOR ADULTS 10 am-12pm; 1-3pm at the Nature Realm Join naturalist and artist Danette Rushboldt for this entertaining lesson in nature drawing. Bring a sketchbook, pencil and a sense of humor. Beginners are welcome. Advance registration required. Call 330-865-8065

ARCHERY GAMES FOR ADULTS 6:30-8 pm at Firestone Metropark, Coventry Oaks area Ages 18 and older will play different games to build archery skills in a fun and exciting way. Participants must have already taken one of our intro to archery programs. All equipment and hands-on instruction provided Advance registration required. Call 330-865-8065 CVSR “GRAPE ESCAPE” Wine-Tasting Train – Learn more online at

Saturday, April 18 CARDIO HIKE 9-11 am at The Gorge, Main Entrance Join Naturalist Mike Greene for healthy outdoor exercise by hiking about five miles at a vigorous pace with few, if any, rest stops. Beginners are welcome, but talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. Drinking water is recommended. GET INTO GEAR - 5K This 5k run and walk takes you through Goodyear Heights Metro Park. "NOAC gEARed to Hear" was created for the purpose of providing hearing aids for area adults in need as identified by our local Quota International club. Learn more online at GetintogEAR5kSAA THYME FOR DINNER: UPCYCLED 2-3:30 pm at the Nature Realm Is space an issue for growing delightful herbs? Create a fun recycled garden for your kitchen. Please call for cost and to register. Advance registration required. 330-865-8065 HIKE: SIGNS OF SPRING 4:30-6 pm at Furnace Run Metropark, Brushwood area Hike at a leisurely pace along Old Mill Trail with Naturalist Dave Brumfield in search of early wildflowers and other signs of spring.

Sunday, April 19 HIKE: WHAT’S BLOOMING AT THE BOG 9:30-11 am at Springfield Bog Join a Naturalist Pat Rydquist for a spring hike in Springfield Bog to see what's blooming and which birds have returned. SPRING FAMILY BOOK WALK 1-3 pm at the Nature Realm Enjoy a story with your family while walking Cherry Lane Trail. Afterward, stop by the campfire to make a craft and enjoy the fire.

Friday, April 17 DALA Cuyahoga Valley Heritage Concerts Happy Days Lodge Darlings of the Canadian music scene, Dala brings a fresh brand of acoustic music to the world. Learn more online at

Wednesday, April 22 WILDFLOWER HIKE 1- 2:30 pm at Cascade Valley South, Oxbow area Join Naturalist Mike Greene to search for wildflowers along Oxbow Trail and discover some past and present plant uses.


Arts, Culture & Entertainment Friday, April 24 COMAS Cuyahoga Valley Heritage Concerts Happy Days Lodge This multinational Irish music quartet bridges the gap between tradition and innovation, the new world and old. Learn more online at

Saturday, April 25 HIKE & BREAKFAST: EARLY WILDFLOWERS 8-10:30 am at Goodyear Heights, Pavilion Enjoy an early spring wildflower hike and delicious breakfast. Participants will be asked to contribute to the feast. Advance registration required (opens April 18). Call 330-865-8065 GARLIC MUSTARD PULL 9 am-12 pm at Goodyear Heights, Pioneer area Help us battle the invasive garlic mustard, an aggressive biennial herb that shades out native wildflowers and out-competes native seedlings. Join other volunteers to pull the plants up by the roots and transport them in garbage bags to designated trails for pickup. Please dress for off-trail work. Bring a hat, work gloves, a snack and water for this easy to moderate service day. Adults must accompany participants 16 and younger. Advance registration required. Call 330-865-8065 OPEN M WALK AND 5K Benefits Open M Community Center. Participants will run through downtown Akron, including Main Street, and along the beautiful Towpath. More online at WILDFLOWER HIKE 10 am-12 pm at Sand Run Metropark, Shady Hollow Join Naturalist Dave Brumfield in search of woodland wildflowers along Dogwood Trail. Portions of this walk are strenuous due to hilly terrain, so wear sturdy boots. HIKE: BLUEBELL VALLEY 2-3:30 pm at Everett Road Covered Bridge Enjoy a strenuous 2.3-mile hike with Naturalist Sarah Putnam in the hope we see a tremendous amount of bluebells and other wildflowers along the way. 2370 Everett Rd. Peninsula, OH RAMP UP PENINSULA A festival honoring the ramp (aka the wild leek). Learn more online at explorepeninsula. com/ramp-up-peninsula

Sunday, April 26

UNIVERSITY OF AKRON SPRING SPRINT TRIATHLON 500-yard pool swim, 12-mile indoor bike and 3.1-mile outdoor run. Learn more online at

Monday, April 27

out and about

HIKE: AKRON HISTORY: SECRET SKYWALK 11:30 am – 1 pm See Akron through the skywalks with tour leaders from the Summit County Historical Society and Metro Parks. Meet outside the auditorium inside the Akron-Summit County Public Library's downtown location. The tour will travel through the skywalks and lead to the secrets at Greystone Hall. In case of rain, please bring an umbrella. Participants will get a sticker for free parking in city garages. Street parking is metered and paid on your own. Advance registration required (opens April 18). Call 330-865-8065

Spring is finally here, Akron— go play in the mud!


There is a saying that April showers bring May flowers. You know what else April showers bring? Mud. And, perhaps more importantly, it’s FINALLY warm enough to play outside in that mud!

Complimentary Community Classes at Lululemon Akron Showroom Saturday mornings at 9 am (Pilates/Crossfit/Yoga). Learn more online at akron/akronshowroom

ONGOING RUN AND RIDE PORTAGE LAKES RUNNING CLUB - ROADS Every Tuesday at 6 pm at various places around Akron. Search for the group on Facebook for updates. CROOKED RIVER TRAIL RUNNERS - TRAILS Every Thursday at 6:30 pm at various locations in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For details, join them at AKRON BICYCLE CLUB Every Thursday at 6pm from Deep Lock Quarry Parking Lot BIKE PARTY AKRON A festive evening social ride through the City of Akron. Every 3rd Friday of the month.10-12 miles. Bring Lights, Bring Music. Ride starts at Lock 3 at 7pm *Don’t see your club listed? Please contact us at with your information!*

Katie Wheeler

I played softball from the time I could hold a bat, all the way through high school, and one of my favorite memories of the sport comes from this time of year. We would have games cancelled all the time due to rain. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for our parents’ washing machines, we could still have sliding practice. We would run bases and dive feet first, sideways, head first—whichever way was the most fun— straight into the huge mud puddle that always collected over home plate. I’m pretty sure the ONLY reason our parents didn’t make us walk our mud-caked selves home is because they knew that we were having the time of our lives out there. It’s the same kind of uninhibited fun outside that makes me love trail running so much this time of year. We are so fortunate in Akron to be surrounded by amazing park systems that have a huge selection of places to make the best of the rain and play in the mud.

We have trails that take you to spectacular waterfalls, through covered bridges, on top of ledges and up and down hills so big you’d swear that Akron had mountains. Trails range from primitive and difficult to easy access areas that allow for wheel chairs and strollers. From the flatter towpath trails to the most difficult trails in the area like Mingo and Hampton Hills, the Cuyahoga Valley National Parks and the Summit Metro Parks allow for any experience you could look for. I don’t really play softball anymore, but I DO have trail running shoes. These shoes are defined by the stores as having more support and “grippy” soles, but I’m convinced that they also have the power to find even the most obscure puddle and lead my feet splashing into it. In these shoes I don’t care if my legs are wet and muddy up to my knee caps, I don’t care if my own washing machine now pays the price for the aftermath. All I really care about is capturing a little bit of that feeling I had as a kid sliding head first into a mud puddle on home plate.

PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME MARATHON 26.2-mile or 13.1-mile run and a 5K run/walk. Learn more online at



APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |


reading comics in public

What’s cooler now than comic books? by Isaac Kelley

Hi, I'm Isaac. I'm a grown man who reads comic books. That’s not very remarkable these days, but it wasn't long ago that being a reader of comics was a shameful, weird thing. When I started reading them, comics were kid stuff, trash art. The only people who openly read comics were people who had no social standing to lose. Now it’s 2015, and things have changed. Somehow comic books have become the driving force of popular culture. The world has become a crazy science-fiction place with pocket computers and self-driving cars. The natural order of things have been upturned. We live in an age of Comixology, “The Walking Dead” and “Hyperbole and a Half.” The words “based on the comic book” describe most of the movies pulling in substantial box office. Alongside this increase in cultural cache, we’ve seen an amazing revolution in the quality of comics. Globalism has found audiences for creators from around the world. The Internet has given new distribution channels, creating new opportunities for creators and creating new niches. Most importantly, as the audience for comic books has diversified, the types of stories being told has similarly branched out. Comic books, as a medium, as an industry, as a community, are experiencing an unprecedented Renaissance.


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3

Akron is no longer a joke. Akron is cool. As a lifelong comic-reader and a lifelong Akronite, I feel there is a buzzing aura of excitement radiating off these two loves of mine. I've cared about both for my entire life and now, at the same time, they both feel like they are on the cusp of fully realizing their greatness. For this reason, I feel it is important to carve out some space for comics within the pages of this paper and “Reading Comics in Public” is intended to be that space. This column has two separate modes. Sometimes it’ll present a look at Akron's comic book culture, events and institutions—next issue's column will be of that sort, a look at Free Comic Book Day, which delivers exactly what it promises: free comics. The second mode is a more personal one. I want to share my history of reading comic books in public.

Their moment is right now.

Over the years I've read a lot of comics in public and it is a strange thing. Books are the most private of mediums. One almost always reads silently, alone in a world behind one's eyes. Comics are arguably even more private than traditional books, because unlike prose, comics are terrible for reading-out-loud. The experience of being in a world that exists only in your mind while also being in what we will, for simplicity's sake, call “the real world” is a unique one that can imprint some strong memories.

I feel like comics are sharing that moment with Akron. When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was taught that Akron used to be the Rubber Capital of the World. What was left unsaid was that it was no longer much of anything. The rubber jobs were gone and in their absence, the Rubber City struggled to sustain its economy, let alone a culture.

These stories about reading other stories are about a moment in time in a particular place with a particular passion. They sketch out a picture of what it was to be an awkward comics nerd growing up in Akron in the 90s. The thing is, all three aspects—comics, Akron and that geeky kid—they all matured into something a lot cooler.

Things have certainly changed. Akron has grown and flowered in some truly amazing ways since my childhood, just as comics have. The economy is in better shape than much of the country. We have sports teams, and not just the Rubber Ducks but also the Akron Racers and the Rubber City Rollergirls. We have the Summit Artspace and the Nightlight and Musica and the Bomb Shelter. We have the Black Keys. We, ahem, have “The Devil Strip.”

Well… maybe not the kid.


digging in

Digging in


Knowhere Maybe that last one was too tough because no one got it right! Maybe we should stick to things a little easier to find. By the way, that awesome door knocker/peephole was in Greystone Hall, which was built in 1917 by the Freemasons. Now, it hosts the Actors Summit and the Downtown Akron Partnership, among others. This week, the first person to email the right answer to chris@thedevilstrip. com will get two FREE tickets to the "Nobodies of Comedy" concert at the Akron Civic Theatre on April 18. Good luck!

On the southwest corner of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, sits a little café called The Coffee Pot Café. Large, open windows greet you and plants jutting from every orifice. They sell a selection of Akron-based products such as Stray Dog condiments and coffee as well as Norka and Stew Pot Kitchen soups.

They hosted their first game night on the first Saturday of April in conjunction with Akron’s monthly Art Walk. David DiDomenico who manages the café, enlisted the help of local artists and displayed their art on the walls.

As a mixed crowd sat around tables sipping coffee and playing games, local musicians came to play and a painter created another piece. It was a very relaxed atmosphere. The café will host weekly game nights every Saturday from 5pm-midnight.



5 MAY 7, 201

Live broadcast of The Takeaway at Kent State University Gold Circle reception at Greystone Hall in downtown Akron John Hockenberry on stage at Actors’ Summit Theater in Greystone Hall

Tickets online at or call 330-672-3114.

Kent State University, Kent State and KSU are registered trademarks and may not be used without permission. Kent State University is committed to attaining excellence through the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and workforce. 15-UR-00125-032


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THE Devil Strip |


In case you missed it…

The Different Faces of Akron:

A Celebration of Culture and Community words and photos by Brittany Nader

The heavy rainfall outside was no deterrent to the crowd of roughly 200 that swelled inside the lobby of the Akron Art Museum Tuesday, April 7. From children to grandparents, mentors to ministers and friends, the creative hub was abuzz with Akronites from all different walks of life. It was an evening of celebration, to highlight the leaders in the community who make a difference but, perhaps, do not receive the praise and recognition from outside of their grassroots organizations and networks. Sponsored by South Street Ministries, the event developed out of a tongue-in-cheek response, regarding the lack of gender, race and age diversity, to a recent series by the Akron Beacon Journal about the community’s leadership. The evening was proof that Akron is full of unelected, unappointed leaders—from millennials to refugees and including people from all backgrounds and experiences. The perimeter of the museum was lined with booths from local organizations, spiritual institutions and small businesses. The scent of samosas and pungent spices perfumed the air as diverse multicultural cuisine was offered to guests from Akron eateries such as Not Yo’ Daddy’s Salsa and Family Groceries in North Hill. The food, some free and some for sale, provided attendees the opportunity to join together over a meal and entertainment. Drum circles, spoken word, storytelling and traditional dance dazzled and captivated the crowd, as leather-clad bikers pulled their hogs up to the museum entrance before heading inside to cut a rug in the middle of the


Slide City

Get Ready for the Slide of Your Life!

Celebrating the cultures and community in Akron

Slide the City is coming to downtown Akron on Sunday, August 2 and United Way of Summit County is the event’s Official Charity. pulsing beats and electric energy. There was no preaching, no lectures, no speeches. The event was an outlet for creative expression and education in a safe space free of judgment or assumption. The night allowed each community member to celebrate the real people all around us in Akron. The city has its share of festivals that bring locals together to unwind and spend time with family and friends. But an event of this nature is unique in that its purpose is to give visibility to a diverse array of servant leaders doing great things for their neighborhoods without expectation or reward. Walking through the crowd, the positive messages were heard all around from museum staff to children, vendors and performers. A booth set up near the front doors was decorated with a paper sign with “Hey Akron - What’s Our Manifesto?” written across it. Colorful paper and crayons were provided for Akronites to explain what makes the city unique, how it can improve and why it is the community they have chosen to make their own. “What’s in your heart’s desire for Akron?” read one prompt note on the table.

| THE Devil Strip / MARCH 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #2

Imagine 1000 feet of slick vinyl—more than three football fields long— brightening downtown Akron’s city streets. That’s what you’ll get when Slide the City, a family-friendly slip-and-slide water party event, sets up in the Rubber City. “To grow a better life for our children’s children,” wrote one responder. “Less polloshon (pollution),” stated another in obvious childlike scrawl. Everyone had a different reason for coming to the art museum that night, perhaps to support a performer, to sample delicious food, spend time with a member of his or her spiritual institution or get a real-life glimpse of the people making a difference around them. Perhaps, if more events such as this should become a regular part of Akron’s life, it will make us think differently of those anonymous faces we pass on the sidewalk, in the aisles of the grocery store or in line at our favorite local deli. Perhaps an event of this magnitude can inspire small grassroots celebrations that cost little to put together but pay off greatly in the soul and spirit of our community.

There will be live music, food, drinks, water, and of course the biggest slip and slide ever to hit the asphalt (don’t worry, it will be padded). Registration opens Wednesday, April 15 at 9 am, and if you use promo code "SLIDEUNITED" you’ll save 10% on the registration fee—AND 15% of the registration fee to be donated to United Way. (But only if you use the code!) Want to Volunteer? United Way’s Volunteer Center will help organize volunteers for the Slide the City event—16 years old or older only, please. Contact the United Way Volunteer Center at or 330.643.5512 for more information and to register as a volunteer.


only in akron

All the Signals Were There Liz Tyran

Last June, we went to a wedding unlike any other I’d ever attended. I was (and am) fortunate enough to have known the couple since before they actually were a couple. Sophie and E.J. met merely by chance through one of E.J.’s sisters. It was a classic case of boy chases girl, girl ignores boy, boy wins girl over.

blossomed ten-fold, however, when they learned they were to be parents for the first time. Indigo Fox was born August 1st 2011, followed by his brother Che Moon in 2013. Their names are as unique as their mother. Sophie is a highly intelligent, grounded woman now nearing the end of her college career at UA with a GPA well worth braggin’ about. Their father, E.J., comes with roots from a family that is as Akron as Swensons, and Mom n’ Pop Hamad have been married for an impressive 44 years. At one time they ran E.J. Hamad’s Family Restaurant in the Merriman Valley, and raised three daughters and two sons most of whom now have children of their own. Soon it was time for their youngest son, E.J., and his fiancée Sophie to plan their wedding. Several announcements were sent out in the forms of engagement notices, save-

Their relationship


Indigo (R) and his best friend Liam (L) letting loose and having a little climbing fun after the ceremony

the-dates and even full-blown invitations, though what was planned (from left to right) Michael and Marcie didn’t seem to want to Hamad, Indigo, E.J., Che and Sophie. actually happen as easily as that. The original venue they booked let them down provide were complimented by E.J.’s own sister, unexpectedly. They considered going away to Kim, an ordained minister, marrying her sibling get married to avoid the stress of finding some Akronite to her dear friend. She spoke words place new. The budget was always an issue as into the warm June air that only someone who it is for most couples let alone a couple with knew the two so well both separately, as well two small children and the wife-to-be trying to as together, could have written. finish college. The weather, a perfect shade of summertimeEventually they settled on a spot that couldn’t lovely, blue sky and all, I say, was just for them. have been more simple, natural, and perfectly Guests looked on as did the old and mighty suited to them. It was in the Cascade Valley Signal Tree. The iconic Bur oak that stood tall Metro Park at one of Akron’s most-noted and made for a young couple’s wedding photos natural landmarks, the Signal Tree. just minutes after the ceremony was the same landmark arbor that guided Native Americans E.J.’s teenage niece played the ukulele as the on their journeys hundreds of years ago. It had bridal party walked down the aisle of short helped them find their way all those moons ago green grass that ran between the tall summer and last year it helped a couple, looking for a grass. The purity of the ceremony, the setting, place to marry, find theirs. and an overall feeling that only nature could

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THE Devil Strip |


dina's days

Marinated Kale Salad words and photos by Dina Younis

Magical things happen when you marinate kale; it actually becomes edible and enjoyable. Allowing the kale to marinate with the dressing for several hours completely transformed the way my kale salad tasted. + Kale fashion blogger makes marinated kale salad

What you need: • Kale - I get the bagged kind with the stems already cut • Your favorite salad toppings. I used tomatoes, feta cheese, green olives and raisins.

For the dressing: 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon olive oil 1/2 a medium onion chopped Fresh garlic cloves or minced garlic Kosher salt Black pepper

What you need to do: Mix all of the above ingredients in a jar and shake well. Place kale in a bowl and fully coat with the dressing. You will notice the dressing go to the bottom of the bowl, drain and pour back on kale. Really massage the kale and get it soaked. This is a dry and thirsty green! Keep draining and coating the kale until you have a little bit of drainage. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight or at least for a couple of hours. Remove from fridge and drain excess dressing. Feel free to coat it again, if not just drain completely. Add salad toppings and enjoy!


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


new / native

New / native Meet soap-making Akron newbie Denise Debo and Native Dana Starvaggi Kris Morrison & M. Sophie Hamad


What is your favorite local cultural asset? There's a lot, but one I am looking forward to with the weather getting nicer is the weekly drum circles in Highland Square. My son loves to go to these and he jumps right in and plays the drums with everyone. He busts out some pretty good dance moves too.


When did you fall for Akron? I lived here years ago, then moved to NYC for several years. I missed living in a closer, less congested neighborhood and when I came back and had my son, I was quickly reminded of how amazing Akron is. The community is so creative and supportive of one another's endeavors and there are so many rad parents raising even radder kids.

Name / Age: Denise Debo / 30 Hometown: From Sunbury, PA Neighborhood: Highland Square Occupation: Multi-tasker. Wellness representative, soap maker, chemistry student and full-time mommy and coffee drinker. Who do you wish was on more Akronites radar? Why? These all are on the radar, but Made by Mike Treats, Akron Coffee Roasters and smARTStudio. Amazing caramels (I ordered four dozen after trying), amazing coffee roasted locally, and art enrichment workshops by a fun and sweet hearted woman.

Where in Akron do you like to escape? When I have a day off with my son, we usually spend it at the zoo or going to one of the parks. And a walk to Angel Falls. Mamma likes her coffee... By the gallon. Why should everyone try your local favorite restaurant? Because your life is not complete until you have Luigi's. How do you think Akron will be different in five years? I think that we are going to see many more projects and creative developments as our younger generations grow older. You see so many people that are running local businesses, doing community projects and raising such smart and creative children at the same time. Things only continue to look up for communities when you have that combination.

Name / Age: Dana Starvaggi / 29 Hometown: Akron Neighborhood: Grew up in West Akron, Currently resides in North Hill Occupation: 7th Grade science teacher at John R. Buchtel Community Learning Center

“…I couldn't help but think of the ‘South Park’ episode where everyone smells their own farts, and I thought to myself, ‘At least in Akron everyone knows we're all assholes.’" Who do you wish was on more Akronites’ radar? Greg Mortenson. He founded Central Asia Institute, a group focused on promoting girls' education in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. His schools go into some of the most extreme places—places that soldiers know not to go—and they are established through community support. He epitomizes community through education, and peace comes through that. He is doing what all of our countries' soldiers cannot do, providing a future for the thousands of girls and women who have been deprived of a generation or more of knowledge and formalized education. What is your favorite local cultural asset? The Nightlight. Relatively new but I’ve been going there quite a bit. They opened like last summer. Probably been there about 20 times to see films since then. Got to know the people down there. I really like how they’ve been booking movies. There’s always something really interesting even if it’s not something I’ve heard of before or that I don’t usually watch. I’ll always give it a chance based on their reputation with me so far.


When did you fall for Akron? I am biased, being the granddaughter of a barber who cut hair for over seven decades, but I am tempted to say the barbershops of Akron. The diversity of my neighborhood would be a very close (and perhaps interrelated) second. I could not name one single cultural asset, but I appreciate the range of cultures that North Hill brings together, and the history of this area. I am reminded of this every time I drive past establishments like the Akron International Institute, Jennings Community Learning Center (in which some classrooms have over eight spoken languages!), DiVitis grocery store, and many more North Hill highlights. When did you fall for Akron? I fell for Akron pretty hard when I was in a co-op in Eugene, Oregon and I heard someone get shamed by their friend for having a t-shirt on that wasn't made from organic cotton. Now, don't get me wrong—I love organic EVERYTHING! But I couldn't help but think of the South Park episode where everyone smells their own farts, and I thought to myself, "At least in Akron everyone knows we're all assholes." I realized that escaping this city, full of depressed, bitter people I knew so dearly, wasn't an option. That if I wanted to shop at a co-op and have local, organic food served at restaurants, and urban farming all around us, that maybe we had to all work hard to make Akron more like idolized utopias, like "out West." Where in Akron do you like to escape? My ultimate escape is Cascade Valley Metropark. Located just below North Hill, it's one of my favorite parks and places to get lost. Why should everyone try your favorite restaurant? Rancheros Taquieros is most definitely worth trying! Not only is it one of North Hill's best, but arguably Akron's best Mexican food, period. It's been awesome watching that restaurant grow from a one room, sit-at-the-bar joint to the large place it is now, eager to quickly accommodate a large group. How do you think Akron will be different in five years? I think a lot of people moved away from Akron with promises to return. Perhaps it's the lingering bits of LeBron-camehome happy dust in the air, but I foresee a lot of those fancy-time professionals moving home to start families and return to their rusty roots. I'm not sure the impact this will have, but I am hoping it means more progressive things all around the city, from politics to art invigoration projects to delicious and unique restaurant options, and beyond.

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THE Devil Strip |



by Chris Horne


Tessa Reeves is a morning person, someone who dreams big and wakes up smiling, as if the rising sun has hand-delivered 24 hours of opportunity to put her seemingly endless optimism to good use. She set up shop in a sliver of borrowed space off the side of a repurposed church building in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood. A closet of cloth, clothing and accoutrements; a couple boxes of shirts; a folding table for folding merchandise, and a sewing machine tucked away in the corner. In the background, kids in Urban Vision’s after-school program filter into place among the pews, bouncing echoes of their laughter around the auditorium, which is still set up for worship service. A volunteer peeks in for something, finding instead what is—at least for now—Neighbors Apparel. With a full day of work behind her and more ahead, Tessa is, indeed, still happy.

How a Kent State student from Doylestown abandoned her dream-come-true in New York City and found her purpose in North Hill starting a fashion company with members of Akron’s refugee community.

Neighbors Apparel has no full-time employees, just co-founders: Tessa; Rodney Matthews, who leads Urban Vision, which houses the company; and Ka Naw, a talented Karen seamstress refugeed from Burma and now living in North Hill. She speaks only a bit of English and works the overnight shift on a local cleaning crew, squeezing in a few late morning hours for Neighbors in the hopes it’ll one day sustain her full-time. That’s the whole point. Asked about the mission of Neighbors Apparel, Tessa says it’s to create employment opportunities for refugee women. Not to make the most fashionable, most sought-after clothes on the market. It’s to create employment opportunities for refugee women.

Before heading to New York, Tessa grappled with—and eventually courted—the apparent contradiction between being a devout believer This wasn’t true one morning a couple of in Jesus and entering an industry predicated years ago when she struggled to get out of largely on evangelizing materialism. She crafted her bed in New York City, dreading the moment a vision of herself as a writer and editor whose she would again have to walk through the bone-deep joy and kindness could provoke doors at Vogue, the Conde’ Nast flagship that conversations with people who’d wonder distributes more than 11 million why she’s so different, which would open copies worldwide. opportunities for her to tell them about her faith. Her plan remained intact throughout the She’d found her calling, she thought, when she Elle internship. made a high school presentation on fashion in “The Great Gatsby” and then followed it to Walking through the doors, she thought, “Oh Kent State, eventually interning at Elle and golly. This is like a dream, and it just came true. then Vogue. Each opportunity was a bridge Oh, okay. Dreams can come true.” It wasn’t built from Doylestown, Ohio to New York. This perfect but she left with a standing job offer was the dream: fashion, journalism and the after graduation. Still, she wanted more. Big Apple. “I felt like it would be silly to go home and “It was the opposite of what everyone was finish out a senior year,” she says. That’s doing,” Tessa says. “It was the opposite of when she landed at Vogue. That’s when what I grew up in. So it was very attractive something changed. to me.” “My first week there, I literally hated my life.” That is, it was “radically different,” which is She didn’t have a case of nerves. She wasn’t important because being radically different is suffering from stress induced by the fast-paced, important to Tessa. The mantra stems from demanding environment. In some strange her faith, which is central to her life, even way, she enjoyed that “Devil Wears Prada” though she wears it subtly. She doesn’t shun atmosphere. The problem ran much deeper and “Christian” but prefers “Christ-follower” only emerged in full when she fast-forwarded because she says it’s more descriptive of her to her death bed. behavior than merely stating her religious orientation. She’s all-in on the radical “I looked at myself in the industry and I didn’t mission Jesus laid out in the charge to love look radically different than anyone else,” our neighbors as ourselves. In Akron, she she says. “I realized something needs to stop; rediscovered the power of those words. something needs to change. I want to do more


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3

Ka Naw sewing orders. Tessa says she knows her partner has a wicked sense of humor because Ka Naw often laughs at her mistakes. with my life than tell people what clothes to wear.” She ended up in a Starbucks reading and rereading her resignation letter to Vogue. With her cursor hovering over “send,” she thought she was as done with fashion as she was the career she’d spent four years building. Tessa was returning to northeast Ohio to wander in the wilderness for a while.

Neighbors may aspire to become a job creator—and appears to be on its way—but it’s already good at offering a clever answer to the old question, “Who is my neighbor?”

The company makes clothing and accessories hand-sewn from cloth woven by Karen (pronounced KAH-rin) women. Each shirt and bag embodies a story of the people who made it, and with that story, a connection from one culture to another. In that way, transactions don’t take place between creators One day, she said, Rodney wanted to meet with and customers but neighbors. “I’m getting to her, but she didn’t know why. They’d never had radically love people through something as silly a conversation before. That’s when she says as clothes,” Tessa says, grinning. he suggested starting a small fashion line. The ministry had long considered serving as a sort She says they want to duplicate this operation of neighborhood business incubator and this elsewhere in the refugee community, offer would be their chance to get started. free training for seamstresses and recruit ESL volunteers. It’s just a matter of gathering It took about a year from that conversation steam—and perhaps whether they can find to this past July for the idea mature into a investors more interested in supporting the company but now that it has, Neighbors is cause than getting their money back at high gaining momentum. As often as she can, Tessa interest. Either way, Tessa is right where she sells Neighbors merchandise at area shows wants to be. and parties. With other shops and boutiques showing interest, Neighbors Apparel is already “For a long time, I wanted to leave Ohio,” available at Market Path in Highland Square, she says, “but now, why would I leave Akron? which predicates its stock on fair trade, and at What else would I want to give my life to?” NOTO in downtown Akron. Neighbors Apparel wasn’t even a twinkle in her eye. Looking for a way to feel useful again, she volunteered in Urban Vision’s after-school program and soon started pondering how she could make a living doing good work.


cover story

The Little Indie Fair That Could:

love WHY WE

CRAFTY MART written by Jessica Conti | photos by Svetla Morrison

Before there was Crafty Mart, there was Juniper Sage, and there was J Hudson, crossing paths as sellers at Cleveland Bazaar and a handful of other craft events. None of them in Akron, however. So, it didn't take long before they discovered they had something in common: a shared disinterest in always having to go away to do what could have been done closer to home. After making frequent weekend visits to Square Records—where Sage is a co-owner with her husband, David Ignizio—she and Hudson finally decided they had to “shut up or put up.” The idea was simple: create an indie craft fair in Akron. In 2009, that’s what they did with The Crafty Mart, a bi-annual craft fair that catered to a wide variety of handmade interests held at Musica in downtown Akron. They it would to catch on. They never anticipated that it would grow so rapidly or become as successful as it has. The idea isn’t a new one. Indie craft fairs happen in just about every major city, including Cleveland. Akron is the kind of city that prides itself on being, well, itself. It’s not just logical that Akronites would want their very own independent arts fair, but equally unsurprising that it would do well. “Akron doesn't say 'no',” Sage says. “I have a feeling most Midwest towns of a decent size are like this but I am continually pleased by my adopted home and its positivity.” At the first Crafty Mart in 2009, vendor fees were kept low to ensure local creative would be interested and be able to participate. Frankly, Sage and Hudson weren’t sure who would

Co-founders Juniper Sage (L) and J Hudson (R) remain committed to Crafty Mart's growth show and what would sell. Their desire to have something like Crafty Mart was matched by an enthusiasm from residents across the area to attend something like Crafty Mart. “I went to the Crafty Mart to check out the eclectic people that share a love for crafts like I do, but what brings me back is the opportunity to pick up a piece of unique jewelry or some art that I otherwise would never been able to find,” said Nicole Holodnak of Massillon. In the summer of 2011, Brittany Charek, once a Crafty Mart vendor and now its executive director, threw her own craft event, the Rowdy Indie Craft Fair. Like Sage and Hudson, she’d grown tired of always having to go to Cleveland for events. Her effort proved successful enough that she was asked to join the team—and eventually to lead it. A teacher by day—Crafty Mart won’t employ her until this summer when she starts parttime—Charek says she's worked hard to expand the original vision into an event that is more than the typical arts fair. Despite the successful turnout, the money the event

(Clockwise from top left) Juniper and J Hudson - Co-founders Juniper Sage (L) and J Hudson (R) may have stepped back but they remain committed to Crafty Mart's growth and the city's creative community; Brit C. — As Crafty Mart's executive director, Brit Charek is helping the organization expand beyond its two annual anchor events.; Gainer in Stitches (vendor) setting up; Crafty Mart vendor setting up booth; Kristopher Barnette is Vice-Chairman of the board and brings years of marketing expertise and a punk rock sensibility to this new era for Crafty Mart; Joanna W. who co-founded Akron Empire with Brit Charek, is the author of a few books, a writer for The Devil Strip and her blog buddy's right hand as Crafty Mart's Assistant Director; Crafty mart vendor.


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THE Devil Strip |


Cover Story collected from vendor fees didn’t cover the cost of operation even though it was entirely run by volunteers. Around this time last year, she almost threw in the towel. Something had to change. “I couldn't figure out how to take this passion project I inherited from hobby to full-fledged sustainable business, and was getting to the point where I couldn't justify the amount of time and money that I was throwing into it personally, and how much it was taking me away from my family and my day job,” she says. Charek sought outside opinions about ways to make the event successful on all fronts, reaching out to board members and personal friends. Rob Lehr, the marketing and communications director at the Canton Museum of Art, was one. He suggested expanding beyond Musica and then helped connect Crafty Mart with Summit Artspace and the Akron Art Museum to keep the event downtown as she wanted. Now, these two venues are also part of the Mom and Pop Shoppe. Every first Saturday of the month, the Artspace hosts the Pop-Up Market during the Downtown Akron Artwalk. The two big anchor events take place in April (Mom and Pop Shoppe) and November (Crafty Mart). In May, there’s a pop-up at Thirsty Dog, and this summer, Charek is helping organize and promote the Akron Farm and Flea at Musica. Despite the number of events, each vendor is still hand-selected by a panel of jurors to ensure a certain level of quality and to provide a variety of experiences—from treats and knit bonnets for babies to locally-roasted coffee and all-natural hand creams. Many vendors are returning after participating in previous years, and while some of the creators come from beyond the borders of Ohio, several hail from the Akron area. The fair can be as unique an experience for the vendors as it is for the attendees. First-time vendors Deanna Guerrieri and Sarah Moynihan, of My Beverly Designs, were in awe.

“Crafty Mart is an excellent example of a group of people that are not giving up on keeping the arts and creative minds alive. We live in wild world full of technology; things are so easily made because of this, so much gets overlooked and underappreciated. We feel it’s super important to keep creation alive and events like these inspire people.” To take that vision another step further, organizers have also started offering workshops taught by local creatives to help share knowledge, inspire each other and bring a hands-on learning experience to anyone interested. While the workshops aren’t free, the money goes towards the materials used to create the project. At the Mom and Pop Shoppe, on April 25, Crafty Mart will host four workshops: basic weaving, how-to brew Kombucha, D.I.Y sugar scrubs and terrariums. The workshops physically bring members of the community together and allow them to form bonds with one another via art. The organization recently received its 501(c)3 nonprofit status, which opens it up to more grants and corporate sponsorships, moving it away from vendor fees as the only source of income. Coupled with the additional monthly events and other partnerships, Crafty Mart, as an organization, is evolving organically, but the core of what makes it work is still Akron’s creative community. From “an enthusiastic board of directors who aren't afraid of working hard” to volunteers and vendors—everything has come together through teamwork to turn Crafty Mart into a staple event. While Charek doesn’t know where the future will take Crafty Mart, she believes it’s much bigger than just providing retail experiences to Akron. “Crafty Mart is more than just a place to shop—it's a community event,” she says. “It's a place where you can spend the whole day exploring, socializing, learning, trying delicious food—while being exposed to local arts and culture.”

Markets & Workshops MARKETS CRAFTY MART PRESENTS: THE MOM & POP SHOPPE April 25, 2015; 10am - 5pm At THREE LOCATIONS: Musica, Summit Artspace, and the Akron Art Museum Preview Gala - Friday, April 24 from 5-9 pm AKRON FARM & FLEA MKT First Saturday of the month; 9am - 2pm The lot & alley behind Musica and Blu Jazz Bar. 51 E. Market Street - Akron, Ohio MONTHLY POP UP MARKET AT THE ART WALK Every First Saturday of the month; 5-9pm Summit Artspace, 3rd Floor 140 East Market Street - Akron, Ohio POP UP CRAFTY MART


Saturday, May 23rd; 11am - 5pm Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. 529 Grant St. - Akron, Ohio THE 7TH ANNUAL CRAFTY MART November 28 & 29, 2015; 10am-5pm At THREE LOCATIONS: Musica, Summit Artspace, and the Akron Art Museum Preview Party - Friday, Nov. 27 from 5-9 pm Vendor Applications will be available July 15 - September 5, 2015

WORKSHOPS Saturday, April 25th WONDERFUL WEAVINGS........... 11am - noon Location: Akron Art Museum Classroom Space Cost: $15 (All materials provided) *Class limited to 15 participants Participants will learn how to make a reusable

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loom, weaving terms/vocabulary/techniques, scrubs and how to make your own. No and will create a weaving using colors and experience necessary. Young adults welcome patterns. Workshop presented by smARTStudio. with supervision. Class presented by Yates Apothecary. KOMBUCHA............................. 1:00 - 2:00 pm Location: Summit Artspace Ramp Room AIR PLANT TERRARIUMS......... 3:30 - 4:00 pm Cost: $35 Location: Summit Artspace Ramp Room The magic mushroom, the alien, the blob, the Cost: $15 SCOBY, whatever you call it, we will teach you Kristi of Land of Plenty will guide you in putting how to use it. You will learn everything that you together an Air Plant Terrarium from scratch! need to know at our Kombucha Basics Class, She will show you how simple it is to create plus get a SCOBY and Starter Liquid to take these intricate little worlds. There will be a home. Class presented by the Bearded Buch. variety of plants, gems, crystals, moss, and other accoutrements to choose from. Each SUGAR SCRUBS....................... 2:30 - 4:00 pm student will leave with a custom terrarium, and Location: Akron Art Museum Classroom Space additional take-home kits will be available. Cost: $35 per person (All supplies provided) *Class limited to 10 You'll make three 4 oz scrubs... This fun workshop will introduce you to sugar


Something’s Brewing

Trailhead Brewery

is proof Eli Smart wants you tobe happy What happens when a guy grows up in Hawaii, graduates from Ohio State, moves to Colorado and starts a nanobrewery in Akron? by Chris Horne

Here’s the kind of place Trailhead Brewery is: On a Friday night, both the outdoor picnic tables, which constitute most of the indoor seating, are occupied. There’s just one seat left at the short bar, which I take, watching players rotate in and out at the lone dart board. The scores are hard to see, even from the hockey, but in large print chalk, a quote from Hunter S. Thompson tells you everything you need to know here. “Good people drink good beer.” If this were a basement or man cave, you’d only be surprised by how many friends showed up. Otherwise, the small room, which is full but not crowded, feels a lot like someone’s home. Which is sort of the case for Eli Smart, Trailhead’s owner and brewmaster. By day, he’s in daddy mode, hanging out with his 2-year-old, Calvin, and saving the grownup conversation for later as they work from toddler games to cartoons. “Then I come here and serve beer to adults,” Eli says, a full smile on his face. He’s one of the folks playing darts, taking his turns between conversations at the bar and refilling growlers. I order the Dark Passenger, a Belgian imperial fittingly named for fictional Dexter Morgan’s evil urges. At 10.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), it doesn’t take much to stir one’s own repressed impulses, which trend more whimsical than felonious.

When I explain what I ordered, Andrea Irland tells me the first time her husband David had a pint, he was talking about getting a tattoo. After the second pint, he insisted, “We should all get tattoos.” By the bottom of the third, he decided Eli should administer the ink. “I always wanted to open a brewery,” Eli says, “But I didn’t know it’d be this small.” Having made batches at home for years, his aspirations grew out of his time in Colorado where the microbrewery scene is significant. But being daddy daycare most of the week makes doing anything more too difficult right now. “I tell people I’m just a homebrewer with bigger toys,” he says. “I plan to get bigger as my son gets bigger.” Eli grew up in Hawaii but didn’t follow his friends to the University of Oregon, instead abandoning the West Coast for an education degree at Ohio State where he met his wife, a native Buckeye. They moved to the Highest State and he tried his hand at teaching, but it wasn’t for him. A couple years ago, when they moved to the Akron area for his wife’s new job, they eventually decided Eli should take his hobby full-time. Trailhead opened on October 25, 2013. In the time since, he’s worked up a nice list of reoccurring beers, like the Calvin and Hops, a nod to his little boy and a bright, pungent concession to demanding “hopheads.” It’s popular with the regulars and newbies alike, but popularity alone doesn’t guarantee a beer’s

return. There’s a vanilla wheat he says he won’t make again despite the praise it earned. A man of high standards, Eli just didn’t like the way it turned out. As is, he typically makes a batch a week, good for three kegs. The rotation gives him and his customers some regularity while keeping everything fresh. That schedule and the brewery’s small size also allow him to experiment, which is good because he spends so much time thinking about beer these days. He says Akron has been more impressive than he expected and he really likes “the vibe” in Merriman Valley, where he set up shop. This despite R. Shea Brewing, another nanobrewer, opening up just a couple doors down in the same plaza. “Oh, Ron?” Eli says, referencing R. Shea’s owner. “He’s a good guy and makes good beer.”

Back at the bar, Andrea, David and their friend Heidi are talking about the best reason to visit East Liverpool—the mystical-sounding “Point of Beginning” resides there—when Elise, the Irland’s 21-year-old daughter, walks in to hang out with her parents. As the parent of an almost 4-year-old, it gives me hope my little girl will still like me when she’s no longer required to by law. David says it’s like this a lot for them. On Wednesdays, he plays darts here with their son Bryan, who he’s also caught on occasion sampling the tap instead of hunkering down in class. Eli jumps in saying that he’s only skipped class once. They go back and forth playfully about it for a minute before the conversation changes and Eli takes another turn at the dart board again. And all at once, Trailhead feels less like Cheers and more of what it really is: family.

So, you don’t feel competitive, like someone’s stepped into your territory? “No. Beer is real collaborative,” he says. If anything, Eli says he’s excited because their proximity and relatively similar size means there’s a better chance the two will work together. One of the picnic tables has filled up with a group joking and laughing as they seem to simultaneously play trivia and UNO.

Trailhead Brewery 1674 Merriman Rd, Akron (330) 687-0771 Trailhead-Brewery/313608432087809

BREW AT THE ZOO is A wild time! Enjoy a taste of the wild side during these after-hours, adults-only beer tasting events that feature drinks from local breweries. Purchase the Brew Pass for access to all four events. You can quadruple the fun, while saving up to $20 with this special pass!

Brew Pass Pricing

(Access to All Four Events)

Akron Zoo Member: $88 Non-Member: $104

Brew Events: Wednesdays, 6-9 pm June 10 80’s Night July 15 Christmas in July September 9 Football Tailgate Night October 7 Oktoberfest

For individual event pricing and details, visit or call 330-375-2550.


YOU’Ve NeVeR BeeN tHiS ClOSe!

APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |


in the kitchen with...



POPSMITH by Abby Cymerman

Tim and Beth Knorr never suspected a summertime treat for their kids would turn into a seasonal business. After 15 years as an organic farmer at Crown Point Ecology Center, Tim started running as a hobby. Beth, who is manager of the Countryside Conservancy farmers’ markets, had been making ice pops for their kids, Maggie and Gus, and Tim often ate the frozen treats to cool down after a run. “He really didn’t like my flavors so he decided to play around and see what he could come up with, and they were really good,” Beth says. Inspired by paletas (ice pops) he had tasted in Mexico, Tim used locally-grown fruit and organic cane sugar in his pops, and The Knorrs launched Popsmith in 2013. “Almost every city now has an ice pop company, and Akron deserves one too,” Tim says.

What makes your ice pops better than the ones at the grocery store? Tim: In almost all the ice pops, we use local fruit, but for accents, like citrus, we use

sourced organic. Locally, Huffman’s Fruit Farm and Morning Dew Orchards in Salem are places we work with an awful lot. There are occasional exceptions. Last year, we had to go to Pennsylvania for peaches because there were no peaches in Ohio. In general, our pops have a ton more fruit in them than grocery-store ice pops, and grocerystore pops are mostly concentrated grape juice, which is no better than sucrose. Beth: Our flavors are weirder than what you’re going to find in the grocery store. (Store brands) seem to stick with strawberry -- and strawberry-lemon is certainly one of our best-sellers with kids -- but we like to do more unusual things too.

Beth: We got this book called ‘The Flavor Bible’ so when we find a fruit we want to use, we’ll see what kind of flavors go well with it and experiment. Other recipes are inspired from things we like to eat. There’s a rhubarb-orange custard tart that I love, and so I knew I wanted to do a rhubarb-orange blossom pop. It’s a great seller for us, nice and refreshing.

Have you ever tried a flavor that didn’t work? Beth: Last year, we had a blackberry-rhubarbvanilla-rose, based on a recipe for a dessert that used all those flavors. We typically make a small prototype batch and sample it, but for some reason, we made a production batch, and it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what were we thinking?’

Our peaches-and-lavender cream, blueberrylavender-lemon and sour cherry-rose are really great sellers with adults. The floral flavors can be a little overpowering, and a little goes a long way, but we think we’ve hit the right balance. When does your season begin, and where can we find Popsmith? Tim: Our season runs from the end of May Where do you get flavor ideas? until the end of October. We usually bring Beth: New flavors often depend on what nine or 10 flavors to the farmers’ markets. We fruit looks good. We’ve been tinkering with a have two carts right now and will probably get cantaloupe-corn flavor, and some people really another one to expand the fleet. love it but we’re having a hard time figuring out different ways to process the corn so the Beth: We’re at the farmers’ markets at Howe texture’s not gross. Meadow and Highland Square, Aurora, Kent Haymaker, Shaker Square and the Cleveland Tim: I want to do a wassail for Christmas in Clinic. It’s full-time in the summer, and we do July. It’s icier, and the little bit of clove in it as many special events as feasible while still makes it really refreshing. remaining sane: birthday parties, anniversaries and corporate events.

Tim and Beth Knorr are ready to sell frozen treats from their Popsmith cart.

Our pops are $3 each, and starting this month, people can subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) where they can buy three- or four-month shares and get 15 pops in a box every month. You can find Popsmith online at

Maggie and Gus Knorr savor the icy goodness of Popsmith’s fruit pops.


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3

_____________________________________ Writer Abby Cymerman can’t wait to try Popsmith’s strawberry-mojito pop this summer.


Pizza & Jojos

PARASSON’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT with a little help from his friends One man’s mission to eat all of Akron’s pizza & jojos words and photos by Eric Morris (with an assist from pizza experts Gabi & Raymond)

The taste rings familiar with each bite of the decidedly pared-down pie. The simplicity of each slice makes it easy to file under comfort food. Simplicity, after all, is the hallmark of comfort, like well-worn sweatpants or cut-off jeans. There’s nothing dressed-up or artificial about Parasson’s pizza. It is what it is: served out of a soft-spoken building and sent out into the world in an unlabeled box. It’s a familiar sort-of pizza with its cheese sweat (aka: grease), the curled crust that holds the toppings back like a highly caloric tide, and the warmth of the box that can only portend the goodness that waits. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that pizza, alongside other Akron mainstays and traditions, like tires and porch rockers and Devo, is its own kind of Rubber City institution. Now, we’re not talking about corporate chains or flimsy gas station pizzas microwaved within an inch of their doughy lives. We’re talking traditions dating back decades, the familyrun pizza shops, ones passed down along generations, like relics or secret recipes. Parasson’s Italian Restaurant on N. Main Street—one of four local shops—is no exception, but yet another example of how tradition and family run deep in Akron and just as deep when it comes to pizza. Dating back to the 1960s, Parasson’s—originally founded in Barberton by Tony Parasson—clearly remains

But the smell. The smell is what hooks you and takes you back.

dedicated to the original mission: excellent food and service, cleanliness and value. But despite what they say, Parasson’s, like any vendor offering a good or service, is judged by their product, the proof, as they say, is in the pizza. And while most pizzas are compared to

either New York with its signature thin crust or Chicago’s deep dish, the same appraisal can’t really be made with Parasson’s. The crust is thinner like a Big Apple pie, but there’s also enough cheese to accommodate a Windy City deep dish. Still, there’s something else.

The nostalgic quality to pizza returns us to childhood sleepovers and postgame little league celebrations. It takes us back to the brief moments that aren’t necessarily about the food, but the food, the smell of it and taste of it, becomes the indicator in our memories and reminds us of the togetherness, the bonds, the family, the kind of moment that calls for a pizza.

Parasson's 501 N Main Street Akron OH 44310 (330) 376-2117

where was this served? Do you know where to find this salad, one piled high with smoky pulled pork? If you're the first to tweet the correct answer to @akrondevilstrip or email it to chris@ then you'll get a big, fat congrats and we'll let you pick the restaurant we feature in the next issue!


APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |


Film & Feast

Film & Feast

“Butter” & spice makes everything nice

the Dish curated by members of

Crafty Mart’s

co-founder and board members

Chris Kessinger, the Film Freak

FILM: “butter” (2012) In a tweet: The world of competitive butter carving rises to the top in director Jim Field Smith's flick featuring many twisted characters. What it’s really about: The film follows an overly ambitious woman (Jennifer Garner) who is married to Iowa's reigning butter-sculpting champ (Ty Burrell) but decides to enter the race on her own when he retires. She's the favorite until an eight-year-old foster child Destiny (Yara Shahidi) discovers she has an uncanny talent for the odd dairy art. Controversies surround the contest and embroil our characters, taking them to hostile levels they never thought they'd reach in order to win the town’s praise. Why it’s good: Garner's win-by-any-meansnecessary mentality is splendid and beyond anything we’ve seen her in before. She's a ticking time bomb that no one can defuse. The on-going and emotional plot with Shahidi's character feels like it comes from a completely different movie but her charisma creates a heartwarming bridge in a competitively chaotic setting around her. There's also a noteworthy supporting cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde and Rob Corddry. How it’ll surprise you: Despite it's silly premise, the movie is layered with varying storylines to make the 85-minute sit go by quickly. The film also offers a peek inside a subculture of sculpture that few outside of Iowa may even know exists. The actors had to learn knife-sculpting crafts to prepare for filming. Kate Hudson was originally up for Olivia Wilde's roll, but backed out due to time constraints while shooting “Something Borrowed.” Also, Ty Burrell beat out Jim Carrey for the roll of Bob Pickard. Bonus Points: Butter-sculpturing dates back to the 1890's. The landscape of the art form was changed in the 1940's as refrigeration became widely available. This brought a marketing revolution to the American Dairy industry, as they would promote sculpture as a way butter bests alternatives like margarine.


Soul Rolls from La Soul (J Hudson) World Tour of Wings at Ripper's Rock House (Kristopher Barnette)


save your sweet tooth Explore the sweet side of Akron after you watch “Butter” by visiting the West Side Bakery. This award-winning bakery offers a wide range of temptation for the desert lover in all of us. When you walk through the door, take a minute and let the rich aroma of cakes, pastries, cupcakes and everything in-between transport you to a delicious paradise of rich flavors that isn't just tasty, but artistic in design. Owners Steve and Barbara Talevich invaded Pilgrim Square in 1995 and changed the looks and designs locally of how we view this tasty tradition. What I find truly different about their shop is that their menu goes far beyond just deserts, as they have some of the most diverse lunchtime sandwiches that I’ve found in the city. Film Freak’s Suggestion: Pay a lunch-time visit to enjoy the best of everything they have to offer. Start off with the roasted turkey on ciabatta bread. The homemade bread conquers midday hunger satisfyingly enough but leaves just enough room to treat your palate to the real reason you came here: dessert. Specifically, the New York Style Cheesecake. As you enjoy the first bite, expect your mouth to take over and make all of the decisions for you until you finish. The portions for the cheesecake are fair to the customer while also not breaking your wallet. It's all a sweet deal.

West Side Bakery 2303 West Market Street Akron, Ohio 44313


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3

"Break the Bank" with a Thirsty Dog Twisted Kilt at The Diamond Deli (Kris Barnette) The Chunk at Mr. Zub's – must also get the tots (Joanna Wilson)


Avocado Curry from Pad Thai (Brit Charek) Tacos al Pastor from Taqueria La Loma (J Hudson) Lockview’s fish soft taco and Chipotle dip with a Brew Kettle White Rajah (Kris Barnette) Mutter Paneer with Garlic Naan from Saffron Patch (Brit Charek) Orange Chicken at Chin's Place (Joanna Wilson)


Grilled Pop Tart at the Lockview (Joanna Wilson)


The Wanderer

GIVE ME ALL YOUR Breakfast Foods by Holly Brown

There have been multiple Saturday mornings, after a long Friday night out and an even longer week of running around trying to finish all of my designated everyday tasks, that I have wanted nothing more than the comfort of both my parent’s kitchen and the favorite diner of my youth. On one of these particular days, my friend Maya and I were talking to each other on the phone about just such a desire. Or rather, the desire for someone to bring us each waffles to our respective beds. That’s when she suggested we go to Michael’s AM. Flash forward less than an hour. I’m standing just inside the front door, staring at the cozy vinyl booths of a diner and the floral curtains of my grandmother’s kitchen. Everything smells like coffee and bacon and I’m all about it, especially since directly in front of me is a glass case practically bursting with baked goods. Not generic baked goods — brownies, scones, tarts, each one slightly different from its siblings in that perfect imperfection reserved only for homemade desserts. Almost instantly we’re in a booth and I’m embracing the comfortable familiarity of a laminated breakfast menu, all of the classics included. On this day of days, I did not have to struggle to decide what I wanted. Waffles were happening. Then, waffles were had. They were everything my groggy morning brain wanted:


a classic. Deep groves of dough created purely for me to fill with butter and syrup. Of course I had to get eggs (always, *always* over easy) and bacon (arguably the greatest thing in the whole world) on the side. The eggs were taken down until there was nothing other than the bright yellow yolky goo that I then proceeded to also dunk my waffle into, then load with the bacon for a texture explosion. It was breakfast, no questions asked: easy, straightforward and reassuring, complete with great company and the hum of conversation and simultaneous clinking mugs, exactly what my tired mind needed to bring it back to neutral. In Akron, there is really no limit on where to get your grub on in the A.M. There are diners, cafes, coffee shops, holes-in-the-walls, local and organic, classically greasy—though I will say most places I’ve had the pleasure of eating in seem to transcend these stereotypes. On a completely different morning, as I was about to visit my boyfriend in Syracuse, NY for the weekend—but without groceries at home and in great need of breakfast for the trip—I spied The Eye Opener just five minutes into my journey. Of course I stopped. I sat at the breakfast bar, surrounded by the bright, solidly colored walls adorned with

enlarged copies of vintage Akron postcards. Despite being by my lonesome, I was not bored for a second. I felt as if I were simultaneously in a cubist painting and some mini Rubber City museum as I watched the kitchen window churning out delicacies bringing my stomach to a full array of rumbling groans. I chose the “Thin Lizzy” (optional) crab meat, mozzarella, sweet peppers, onions and tomatoes in an omelet embrace. Clean, fresh, the perfect energy boost for my Friday morning escapade. And home fries on the side! I picked up every last crunchy piece with my fingers, not caring who saw me, and doused everything in Tabasco, getting that all over my notes for this very column, and again, really not caring about it. Breakfast. Breakfast. Breakfast. There’s really no better way to start your day than with a big plate of delicious breakfast food. Granted, I could make that argument for any time of

day (breakfast-for-dinner, otherwise known as “brinner,” being a staple in my diet) …I digress. Perhaps breakfast food is my favorite because of the vast array of things that are allowed us—everything from French toast (a borderline dessert) to a big hunk of steak with eggs and potatoes on the side, all smothered in Frank’s Hot Sauce. (And don’t even get me started on the booze—Bloody Marys AND Mimosas?! How is breakfast even allowed to claim such delicacies its own? I could also ask the same kind of question of Akron with its array of paradoxically satisfying as Michaels AM and The Eye Opener. But, alas, I’d rather just take advantage of it and be happy.

APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |


8 questions

Questions Liz Miele

with cat-loving, marathon-running stand-up comic

Not to sell the other “Nobodies” short, but the reason you want to see the “Nobodies of Comedy” at the Akron Civic Theatre on Saturday, April 18 is because Liz Miele will be there, on stage, being funny. Very funny. The New Jersey native has been performing stand-up since she was 16 and it’s paid off with appearances at Caroline’s, Gilda’s Club and on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and as well as profiles in “The New Yorker” and “Runners World.” Yeah, she’s also a runner—a marathoner, in fact. In addition to her own solo gig tour and the Nobodies of Comedy, she’s doing sets on a book tour with Christopher McDougal, whose “Born to Run” brought barefoot running and chia seeds to the mainstream. Recently, a video of the “Feminist Sex Positions” bit from her new comedy album,

“Emotionally Exhausting,” went viral. Liz has also starred in “Damaged,” an animated web series about broken robots, and “Apt. C3,” a live action web series. That’s to say, she stays busy, and for comedy lovers, that’s a very good thing. Learn more about her at


Chris Horne: You’ve been doing comedy for a long time for someone still so young. How did you get started? Liz Miele: I discovered stand-up when I was 13 or 14. Before I just thought I wanted to be like a funny actress—I thought I wanted to be Sandra Bullock. I didn’t know any other outlet to be funny. Then I discovered stand-up, and

I was like, “Fuck that. You mean everyone just pays attention to me? This is amazing.” So, I quickly became very obsessed. I was taping everything off Comedy Central and HBO, and I’d show my friends these tapes of comedians like Mitch Hedburg and all these guys who in the late 90s and early 2000s were not even on the radar… In the beginning I was just watching everything I could get my hands on. I started writing when I was 14 and I got up for the first time when I was 16. I feel like anything you really care about, you start to see so much of it and catalogue so much of it you sort of instinctually know what is good and what has the potential to be good.


CH: You said when you were just 10 months in, you were 17 years old and thought, “Oh, this could be something.” Was there a moment where you crossed that threshold and realized it was something you could actually do? LM: I started so young that I was probably too dumb to know I couldn’t. There are a lot of things I regret about starting so young, but the one thing I’m happy about is if I’d known how hard it was—or even if I’d had the maturity to know that this was a pipedream—I don’t know if I would have started. I’m more scared in my 20, almost 30s, than I was when I was 16 because it didn’t matter. Just like you feel invincible and take some bodily risks, I took some emotional and career risks I didn’t realize were kind of dumb. …I know

people who start doing this at 30 and to me that seems a lot more impossible because people expect you to be married and have kids and a real job and a bank account. But at 16, people are like, “Sure. You can be a ballerina. Go for it.” No one tells you there’s like four ballerinas out there. They don’t want to hurt your feelings like that.


CH: Are you referring to books you read for your “Self Help Me” project? LM: Well, I read a lot of self-help books because I’m damaged. [laughs] But one of the books I read that I really liked was called “The Talent Code” and the thesis of that book was that there are very, very few people who are innately talented. For most folks, it’s just about hard work. Most people I know, in whatever their craft is, weren’t good at it the first time they did it. They definitely weren’t good a year in, and they weren’t much better at it a couple of years in. It takes a lot of discipline but it’s also about a lot of self-reflection and honesty. In sports, you have a coach who’ll say, “Hey, when you kick the ball, you’re doing this weird spin and that’s why it’s not working out.” That’s why being something like a painter or a musician or a comic, you have to be your own coach and that’s way harder. You have to be so self-aware it’s almost like an out-of-body experience because you have to be able to pull back and say, “Oh, that (continued on page 29)


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


on the record




The Verdict: Fans of Brian Lisik and the Unfortunates’ melodic pop rock sound won’t be disappointed with the thinkingperson’s lyrics, rich instrumentation and layered vocals on the band’s fourth release “Curtisinterruptedus.”

record’s danceable opener “Jan. 13” is charged with Lisik’s distinctive sound and has the frontman’s raspy vocal harkening to powerpop group Artful Dodger’s Billy Paliselli.

“Normalcy,” laced with Curtis Henderson’s soaring harp Jilly’s Music Room hosts a “Curtisinterruptedus” chops, is a catching, release party April 24, with Brian Lisik and high-energy rocker, the Unfortunates (bassist Steve Norgrove, while the upbeat guitarist Ray Flanagan and drummer Craig Lisik) “Paramours” is a sweet taking the stage at 8 p.m. and special guest duet featuring Akron’s Kevin Junior of The Chamber Strings opening jazzy pop-rocker Rachael the show. Scheduled for release April 28 on Roberts and Lisik. Cherokee Queen Records, the new CD is the follow-up to the band’s 2012 “The Mess That But the tongue-in-cheek title Money Could Buy.” “Curtisinterruptedus” belies the record’s introspective and often dark Packed with 14 individually-inspired tunes, themes. Ever the storyteller, Lisik looks into “Curtisinterruptedus” offers the memorable the mind of wrongfully convicted Clarence melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. The Elkins on “About Me Back Home.” Elkins


served time for the 1999 rape and murder in Barberton of his mother-in-law. In the mournful “St. Patrick’s Day” Lisik pays homage to the untimely death of Big Star vocalist Alex Chilton.

is revisited later in a haunting instrumental balm slipped between “Tattered & Broken,” which trades off Lisik’s and Norgrove’s gritty vocals in blues-drenched verses, and acoustic heartbreaker “Swagger Sway Fall.”

At times, “Curtisinterruptedus” moves between dark and touching as Lisik’s and Norgrove’s lyrics artfully probe life’s meaner experiences and observe the foibles in human nature. In “Born on Needles & Pins” Lisik’s emotionally charged vocal melds with Tim Longfellow’s (Todd Rundgren, Alex Bevan) beautiful piano and cellist Matt Reese (The Flying Carpet People) expert instrumentation. “Needles”

From in-your-face rock licks to stirring melodies, “Curtisinterrupted Us” plants this band on firm ground for pure musicality and emotional honesty. To sample a track from “Curtisinterruptedus,” visit michael-j-media/brian-lisik-january-13th. Buy the CD at Jilly’s during the April 24 release party and later at Square Records. It’s also available online at Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and BrianLisik. com. “Curtisinterruptedus” is co-produced by Benjamin Payne who also contributes drums, guitars, percussion, banjo and backing vocals.

APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |


music listings

Music & COncerts Wednesday, April 15

KYLE MAGILAVY 7:30pm at Pub Bricco (FREE) 1841 Merriman Rd, Akron Head to Pub Bricco’s jazz night to see local favorite Kyle Magilavy.

EVE TO ADAM WITH I-EXIST 6pm at Empire Concert Club ($10) 1305 Tallmadge Ave, Akron NYC’S guitar- driven, anthemic rock band Eve To Adam is on a mission to help reignite Rock, and they remain consistent in their vision, iintention, and determination, regardless of the current trend in fashion, style or fad of the day. I-Exist can best be described as Ambient Rock, meets Prog-Metal, meets the radio.

THE ANGIE HAZE PROJECT 8pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron Bells around her ankle, a handmade tambourine shoe, three drums encircling her

Music Spotlight BEAR GRILLZ LIVE Friday, April 17 ($12-$15) 9pm at Thursday's Lounge 306 E. Exchage St, Akron Elektric Events and Thursdays Lounge promised to bring Bear Grillz after he got sick during the MiTiS Tour and here he is! Features local support by Nasty Blade Gamez, Satoshi D, Alerion and DJDK. (18 Entry / +21 Bar) Presales at

piano, a guitar, a cowbell and a kazoo, this Italian American, singer songwriting gypsy, Angie Haze, brings a caravan of energetic vaudevillians with her on the stage. Hop on the gypsy wagon at Jilly’s!

Thursday, April 16 OHIO’S GREATEST HITS 8pm at Music Box Supper Club ($20) 1148 Main St, Cleveland Hear Northeast Ohio’s hottest singers perform songs by Ohio’s biggest music legends, including Dean Martin, the Foo Fighters and the Pretenders, by guest vocalists including Ryan Humbert, Wesley Bright, Emily Bates, and many more. GERALD CLAYTON TRIO AND NEXT GENERATION JAZZ ENSEMBLE WITH TERRI LYNNE CARRINGTON 7:30pm at BLU Jazz+ ($15) 47 E Market St, Akron BLU Jazz+ celebrates Tri-C JazzFest with two back-to-back performances. At 7:30pm, see the Next Generation Jazz Ensemble, one of the most sought-after student groups at the Berklee College of Music. Stick around to see the Rubber City debut of the Gerald Clayton Trio, featuring three-time Grammy nominated Gerald Clayton.

Friday, April 17

HOWARD STREET TRIBUTE The Mighty Soul Night Saturday, April 18 (FREE) 8 pm-12:30 am at Uncorked Wine Bar 22 N. High St, Akron See the story on page 8 for details or visit or to learn more.

VAMPIRATES Sunday, April 19 ($5) 5pm at Annabell’s 784 W Market St, Akron Before they were whipping audiences into a seething frenzy in underground clubs throughout the world, Vampirates were just a bunch of nice boys next door. Now they’re one of Reno’s most well-known bands, infamous for their ability to continue thrashing for forty-five minutes straight while bathed in sweat and beer.


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3

MARIA JACOBS 8pm at BLU Jazz+ ($12) 47 E Market St, Akron Vocal jazz and R&B sensation, Maria Jacobs, makes her BLU debut. Born in Cleveland, Maria is making waves in the jazz and R&B scenes with her seemingly effortless abilities. BRIAN AUGER’S OBLIVION EXPRESS FEATURING ALEX LIGERTWOOD 8:30pm at The Tangier ($35) 532 W Market St, Akron The legendary Brian Auger's Oblivion Express has returned. The famed B3 and keyboard player has created a distinct voice that combines jazz, rock, soul and funk, that is clearly recognizable to his millions of fans. The latest incarnation of the Oblivion Express is a family affair featuring Karma Auger on drums and Ali Auger on vocals, who live up to the Auger name and make the Oblivion Express smoke. THE MODERN ELECTRIC WITH NONAPHOENIX AND BOBBIPIN 9pm at Musica ($10) 51 E Market St, Akron The Modern Electric is a cinematic pop band of

four Cleveland suburbanites in search of a life that’s just like in the movies. Their music plays out like a soundtrack to a coming-of-age film about chasing crushes, surviving loneliness, and finding close friends. Like a favorite mixtape, the band’s timeless sound transitions from heart-felt acoustic ballads to hook-driven pop symphonies all while maintaining a signature, melodic focus.

Saturday, April 18 THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON STEEL DRUM BAND 8pm at E.J. Thomas Hall ($22) 198 Hill St, Akron Join the famous University of Akron Steel Drum Band as they’re rejoined by Mia Gomandy, a Trinidad and Tobago native who first joined the band at the age of 15 and who now directs Florida State University’s steel band. THE SIDEWINDER QUINTET 8pm at BLU Jazz+ ($12) 47 E Market St, Akron Head to BLU Jazz+ for a very special evening of The Sidewinder Quintet’s tribute to some of the trailblazers of hard bop, including Cannonball Adderley, Art Blakely, and more. Drawing from influences in rhythm and blues, gospel music, blues, and bebop, the Sidewinder Quintet will take you for a ride as they perform some of the quintessential music from this exciting chapter in the evolution of jazz! THE JUKE HOUNDS 8pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron The Juke Hounds play blues with a feeling - feelings of defiance and swagger that say, “You can’t keep us down.” Steeped in electric blues, these seasonsed musicians bring their considerable musical skills to put a Midwestern spin on original material and traditional blues repertoire.

Sunday, April 19 VAMPIRATES 5pm at Annabell’s ($5) 784 W Market St, Akron Before they were whipping audiences into a seething frenzy in underground clubs throughout the world, Vampirates were just a bunch of nice boys next door. Now they’re one of Reno’s most well-known bands, infamous for their ability to continue thrashing for 45 minutes straight while bathed in sweat & beer.


music listings / the scene Tuesday, April 21 KALEIDO WITH GOODNIGHT TONIGHT AND GOODBOOGIE, INC 7pm at Empire Concert Club ($6) 1305 Tallmadge Ave, Akron Kaleido is living proof that rock & roll ain't dead. Guns N' Roses meets No Doubt, their infectious, signature sound and explosive live show has them captivating audiences and winning fans all across the country. Goodnight Tonight is an alternative band out of Kent that’s won a number of awards, including Tri C’s High School Rock Off and Indie Music Channel awards. Goodboogie, Inc performs a delicious blend of cover songs and original tunes, ranging in style from Folk to Funk.

Wednesday, April 22 BLU MONSOON 7:30pm at Pub Bricco (FREE) 1841 Merriman Rd, Akron Blu Monsoon is a talented group (keyboard, guitars and drums) of area college musicians that play a mix of classic jazz, original music and their own jazzy versions of pop hits. Come see why they've become a Pub favorite.

Thursday, April 23 THE GAGE BROTHERS 8pm at Jilly’s Music Room (FREE) 111 N Main St, Akron Ben and Zach Gage are the oldest boys of seven children and have grown up making music their whole lives. You’ll find Zach Gage playing guitar, banjo, mandolin or anything


he can slap strings onto. He is also the lead vocalist. Ben Gage is a percussionist who picked up some harmonicas that he honks on now and then. Also a vocalist, he adds harmony to The Gage Brother's songs. Together they are a high energy acoustic band.

Unbox Akron/Knight Party Photos courtesy of Tim Fitzwater

RACHEL ROBERTS 10pm at Annabell’s (FREE) 784 W Market St, Akron Rachel Roberts is sultry retro jazz pop. Born in the underground rock factory of Akron, Ohio, Rachel turned her opera singing pedigree on its head and has been belting out her quixotic cocktail of 1 part Feist, 1 part Joss Stone, a splash of Sade with a lemon twist of Pat Benatar since she was 14.

Friday, April 24 ROXXYMORON & F5 7:30pm at Musica 51 E Market St, Akron Roxxymoron is an 8-piece rock cover band (except when they rap.) Full horn section, tight vocals & harmonies, witty banter. Go get your dance on at Musica. PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO 8pm at Hard Rock Rocksino ($53) 10777 Northfield Rd, Northfield She sings the songs, and he plays them. Along the way, the union of Pat Benatar and Neil “Spyder” Giraldo has become one of the most successful in music history, and their legacy (continued on page 29)

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THE Devil Strip |


Bars / Nightlife

THEY DANCE DANCE PART Y PART Y Just as Good as They Walk by Jaclyn Geier

This isn’t how I usually enjoy my Friday evenings: Wearing yoga pants and dancing in a dimly lit, unfamiliar room amongst women I don’t know. But this is exactly how I found myself the first Friday of 2015. It was Dance Dance Party Party-Akron’s first meeting of the new year and my first ever.

is never more than one Madonna song away from creating her own dance party. (I admire this approach to dance, as I am lacking in confidence to do so.)

We arrived early at Martell’s School of Dance, a second-story studio above Angel Falls and Highland Square Pharmacy where one of the The Akron chapter of Dance Dance Party Party den mothers, Juniper Sage, greeted us at is one of more than 20 around the world (DDPP the top of the stairs. We waited on a bench is global, yo) and it’s among the oldest. Every in a brightly lit hall with advertisements for charter is guided by same three rules—No boys. dance costumes and pictures of dancers. No booze. No judgment.—to make each party A few minutes later, when the rest of the a safe haven for women who love to dance group arrived together, Juniper ushered us but dislike night clubs. Lights are kept low and into the dance studio, a long room lined with the music loud. There are no instructors or windows and mirrors and shiny wooden floors. choreographed routines, just dancing—for fun, Juniper stepped to the front to explain DDPP exercise and release. procedure. Primarily, the “no judgment” rule. As someone who loves to dance but rarely “Don’t judge others, don’t judge yourself,” she has the opportunity, I was really excited about said calmly. I hadn’t considered applying this DDPP-Akron and recruited my friend, Amy, who rule to myself before, but I immediately realized

how ignoring it would change my experience considerably. As someone who is harshly critical of herself, dancing in front of a mirror for an hour could otherwise cause problems. When the music, a compilation created by a different DDPP member each week, began to play, we warmed up and stretched. By the start of the second song, the dancing began. Everyone danced in their respective places, apart from one another. At first, this was difficult. I had never danced independently in a room full of people. Especially aware of my reflection, I learned how much elbow movement is involved in my dancing. But then, after the third song, I fell into the energy of the room, of those who were not concerned with their elbows and were truly dancing for the fun of it. We were not dancing together; we were each dancing in a room together—an independent action, yet a shared experience. Between songs, everyone applauded as we waited to be carried back to wherever it is we had danced. At the end of the hour, I was relaxed, and I felt very much like I had just finished a cycling class. It was liberating. It was exhausting. It was beautiful.

DDPP-Akron meets at

Martell's School of Dance (788 W. Market St, Akron) on the first, third & fifth Fridays of the month at 8:00 PM. It costs $3/woman, which helps cover the studio rental, but LITTLE GIRLS ARE FREE. For more information, email the Den Mothers at

DDPP was not entirely what I expected; it was better. Like a Zumba class that fell into a fabulous kind of anarchy through which these women were connecting with a forgotten version of themselves. The adults dancing in that darkened studio seemed to return to the freedom that I typically associate with childhood. Before spending an hour with them, I didn’t realize how much I missed that feeling myself.


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On Stage With… Tall Tales of Akron




There is a sound that rings out from the lakes of greater Akron to the crowded wine bars and illuminated downtown stages. A woozy flowing of harmonies that brings the community together, the artists, the laborers, the parents and the friends. A slice of the music scene we know is alive and pulsing through the corners of the city.

A regular organizer at the nowdefunct local art and music collective, The Spot, and runner-up for the Akron Art Prize for sculpture in 2013, Parsons also designed the stamp for the wax seal that closes the CD packaging. Working collaboratively, each member of Tall Tales organized an assembly line printing, cutting, folding, melting and stamping to envelope their songs with pride and care.

Three years ago, Tall Tales began when guitarist and vocalist Kyndra Heischman began playing traditional folk and dirty blues with local musician Dave Hammer in a muchstoried house on Bluff Street. Upright bass player Jason Willis and drummer Brian Parsons soon added elements of bluegrass and soul to the fill out the rhythm section, with Olivia Cutlip joining later, completing the puzzle with angelic vocal harmonies. The group may have gotten its name from Heischman’s love for telling white lies, but it’s clear the Ohio musicians are honest about their dedication to songwriting and crafting those sweet Americana tunes for the people of Akron to listen to over and over again.

The band mates agree screenprinting the CDs and packaging was a pivotal moment for the group. “We all pitched in as a unit,” Heischman says. “We fit together like some kind of super group… if superheroes were liked for having flaws.”

“We only like to spend money on chicken and beer. We had to figure out how we could put the album together without spending too much money.”

“My songs are delicate flowers,” Heischman admits. “While Dave’s are more rock ‘n’ roll.” This fusion is evident on the group’s self-titled release, which contains wistful musical tales of love and longing, such as “Songbird,” alongside foot-stompin’ ditties like “Down By the Riverside” and “Rocks.” The band recorded the album live, and when it came time to get the CD in the hands of the listeners, they took a rather creative approach. “We only like to spend money on chicken and beer,” says Heischman. “We had to figure out how we could put the album together without spending too much money.” The grassroots spirit a common thread connecting Tall Tales, the band seamlessly worked as a unit to assemble packaging for the release.


But it’s the celebration of these socalled flaws that allow Tall Tales to embrace the DIY spirit, hand-crafting their album and making each disc special and unique to the listener. The band has plans to release a new edition of the CD soon and recreate the process of working as an artistic team to hand print and assemble the disc. Tall Tales will play together this summer as Hammer makes his triumphant return to the Rubber City from New Orleans, no doubt gathering inspiration and new material along the way. Heischman hints at more call-andresponse tunes, sweet harmonies, bass solos and a few appearances by friends of the band on upcoming recordings.

Heischman and Cutlip hopped in a truck, journeying to a friend’s house to pick up several 50 lbs. rolls of paper that would be used to hold each of the band’s freshly recorded CDs. Parsons crafted a screen-print with a distinct log-and-hatchet design, inspired quite simply by a log in his yard the band members liked to throw a hatchet at after rehearsals during Parson’s bonfires.

Tall Tales’ self-titled album is available locally at Square Records on West Market Street. For those who can’t wait to get the handmade CD in their grasp, the release is also available to stream and purchase on talltalesofakron.

51 E MARKET ST AKRON, OH 44308 (330) 374-1114 LIVEATMUSICA.COM

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17 l i r Ap

The Modern Electric NONAPHOENIX * Bobbipin - S aturday

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Cold Fronts & Made Violent Weird Fishes - F riday -

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Roxxymoron & F5 - S aturday

may 2 RATM2 Devilstrip

Titans In Time * Vollstin - F riday -

8 y a m

Tour Send-off for

Shivering Timbers w/ the Help and The Hands Dynamo Love Our huge bar makeover is NOW complete!

“Brian’s not just our drummer — he’s also a local artist,” Willis points out.

Like us on Facebook - /LiveatMusica Follow us on Twitter - @LiveatMusica


SHIVERING TIMBERS FRIDAY, MAY 8 Big tour send-off for Shivering Timbers, featuring The Help and The Hands and Dynamo Love

Be part of local music history when The Devil Strip and The Akronist team up to film the first episode of AKRON CITY LIMITS, a new video series of live-recorded concerts by local musicians performing in local venues.

Tickets $10 Doors open at 7:30 pm More info at

misc. (continued on page 22)

written by a comedian—I absorbed so much of that, that even at 16, I kinda knew it was going to be hard, and it was going to take 10 years, and it’s kind of a brutal business. So every time I got shot down, I didn’t like it and it didn’t feel good, but I knew that was part of the process.



10 years ago would affect me for a week. So now, I’ll still get upset about it—depending on line didn’t go well because you said this the situation—but it’ll affect me for an hour, _____.” You can’t be that person that’s like, “I or it’ll affect me for a night. Sometimes, I don’t killed,” or, “These people just don’t get me.” even get affected—not because I have a thick It’s a whole different beast. skin but because it’s a club full of 15 people and it doesn’t matter, or I was attempting new jokes and I knew they weren’t going to go well. Or, maybe 80-year-old men aren’t my core CH: It seems like it would be just as emotionally audience and that’s life. difficult to do stand-up because you have to put yourself out there. You have to be pretty honest and open to be as good as you are. Is that another way getting started young helped CH: So how does a 16-year-old bounce-back or is it still hard? from bombing? How did you rebound from stuff like that? LM: Yeah. It’s funny; there’s this idea that you have to have a thick skin, and actually, for LM: I ate a lot of junk food. …I definitely did me, I don’t. I really don’t. Instead of having a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs when I a thick skin, I feel like things hurt me just as was 16. But I was such a nerd—I mean now, much as it did when I was 16, but I have the there are a lot of podcasts and all this stuff, experiences and the knowledge to know it’s but I was such a comedy nerd, I read like every not the end of the world, or it doesn’t mean stand-up comedy book. My daddy used to what I think it does, or it’s not about me, or it’s tape documentaries about comedians for me. I not personal. So bombing, or not doing well, read every biography and every book that was


(Music Listings continued from page 25) continues to be celebrated across the globe. The couple is celebrating their 35th Anniversary with a tour, including a stop at the Hard Rock Rocksino. HERITAGE CONCERT: COMAS 8pm at Happy Days Lodge ($17) 500 W Streetsboro St, Peninsula Comas are a multinational quartet bridging the gap between tradition and innovation, the New World and the Old, and energetic performance and tasteful repertoire. They are a musical force of nature juxtaposing the music of Ireland with that of continental Europe and North America.

Saturday, April 25 BLACKSTONE 7pm at Empire Concert Club 1305 Tallmadge Ave, Akron Hailing from Cleveland, OH, this powertrio fuses their wide range of influences together with an amazing amount of musicianship to form a refreshing melodic edge to their rock brand. GRIFFIN HOUSE 8pm at The G.A.R. Hall (FREE) 1785 W Streetsboro Rd, Peninsula Griffin House was born and raised in Springfield, Ohio. His father worked in a tire shop and his mother helped place children with foster families. In high school, the athletically gifted House landed a role in a musical and was surprised to learn that he had a natural talent for singing. House bought his first guitar for $100 from a friend and started to teach himself how to play the guitar and write songs.

YEPAW PRESENTS THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF PAUL: THE MUSICAL 8pm at Akron Civic Theatre ($25) 182 S Main St, Akron Paul: A Musical Journey is a powerful story of transformation, reconciliation and hope. The


musical has garnered rave reviews and received standing ovations at every performance since it opened in Akron, OH in January, 2005. It has been called “rollicking” and “infectious” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and “jam packed with soul satisfying music” by the Akron Beacon Journal.

Sunday, April 26 AN ACOUSTIC EVENING WITH LYLE LOVETT AND JOHN HIATT 7pm at Akron Civic Theatre ($38) 182 S Main St, Akron Two of America’s most celebrated singersongwriters, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, bring their nationwide tour of blending acoustic performance, conversation, and laughs for an unforgettable glimpse at two of modern music's most prolific legends.


CH: What can you tell me about what it’s like to be on the road as much as you are? LM: There are a lot of things I love about it. I love hotels. …As much as I love my roommates, I love having my own space to, you know, walk around naked [laughs]—you know, have your own space. Another thing—I love driving. But I just got a speeding ticket so I’m starting to love that less as I continue to get those. Traveling at this point is mostly speeding tickets and almost missing my flight, so there’s a lot of stress. But I do love driving by myself. It’s where I come up with a lot of ideas, reflect. I get to run a lot. There are a lot of these quiet moments that I enjoy a lot. But when I don’t have a choice about those moments, like coming back to my hotel after a show because there’s nobody I know to hang out with—or wanting to call a friend up on a Friday night then realizing that even though I’m done with my shows, they’re hanging out with friends and being people. There are a lot of these I’m-glad-I’m-alone moments, but there are a lot of pockets of I-wish-I-wasn’t-workingwhen-everyone-else-is-hanging-out moments. I’ve missed a lot of weddings. I’ve missed a lot of birthdays. I’ve missed a lot of important moments in people’s lives. A lot of them haven’t known me as anything but a comic, but the older I get, the more it bums me out. Like, I missed my little brother’s 21st birthday. He’s like one of my best friends and later we hung out and we celebrated and it was fine, but my whole family was there and I missed. Apparently my mom got drunk. [laughs] And I missed it. But I don’t have a choice about it right now because I don’t always know when my next paycheck is coming.


CH: So I read that George Carlin befriended you when you were young and you stayed in touch for years before he died. What did you learn from him that you’re still using now?

THE HONEY DEWDROPS Friday May 1, 7 pm at G.A.R. Hall (Peninsula) Voices in the Valley Concert Series (tix $12-$15) Bringing their unique blend of folk and roots music—think tight harmonies, clawhammer banjo, mandolin and guitars—up from Baltimore for a CD release concert for “Tangled Heart” in Peninsula, the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Get more information at or by calling 330-657-2528.

LM: I’m a list person. I’m very organized. So seeing how he had a system—not similar to mine, but he was someone who had taken that to the next level. I’m struggling right now with my workload, my travel and the amount that I’m writing because I had a system that I had in place for years and it worked fine but whatever template I had is not sufficient anymore. So it helps me now to go back in my mind to remember how he organized things on his computer and how he grouped jokes together in his act. …Even though I’ve been doing this for 13 years, this is only the second time I’ve had to go back and write a whole new hour. So it helps to go back and think about someone who, that’s what he did for years.


CH: I’m utterly fascinated by how busy you are, and that you’re also somehow a marathoner. I just signed up for the New York City Marathon and I’m hoping you have some tips for me since you’ve done the Marine Marathon in DC with your dad like every year, is that right? LM: Last year was the first year I didn’t do it and because of my schedule I think I might be done with that one. But before that I did it seven years in a row with my dad. CH: That’s the one that finishes like straight uphill, right? LM: Yes. It’s so mean. If you’re doing the one in New York—that the first one I did when I was 19—it was intense. I’d like to do it again but it was a rough one. So hill train. Hill train. Those bridges are brutal. CH: I didn’t think about that. You know, when my wife suggested it, I thought, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” And I always do until I’m actually running one and realize, “Oh yeah. This hurts a lot.” LM: [laughs] That’s entirely every race I’ve ever been part of—“Won’t that be fun?” Then as I’m getting up at 6 a.m. after I went to bed at 1 a.m.—and I haven’t trained because I’ve been traveling—I’m like, “Who do I think I am?” …Right now, I’m not signed up for any races and I can see my motivation waning because I don’t have something pressuring me. I still run every other day but I haven’t done a long run in probably three months. For me, that’s A) kinda boring, and B) my body is like, “Yeah, we get it. You can run four miles.” So just like having goals in comedy, I like having fitness goals because it gets me out of the house. It’s a good way to get me out of my head. I like doing something that’s completely non comedyrelated. I like using it when I travel—like when I was on tour in Europe—because it’s a great way to see a new city. It’s a cool way to soak things in and get to see stuff. (Ed. - Of course, I recommended she check out the Towpath when she visits Akron. Go to for the full interview with Liz Miele.)

APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |



Crossword Puzzle Set by Alberich

ACROSS 1 Ground beef patty in a bun 5 Another name for drinks 8 Large fruit with fuzzy skin and a solid pit 10 Meat from a hog's thigh 11 Frozen dairy delight (2 wds.) 14 Food grilled on skewers 18 It grows on a cob 19 Small, flat baked sweet snack 20 Green nut 22 Fresh green salad vegetable 23 What French fries are made from 26 Pickled cabbage 28 String-shaped pasta


| THE Devil Strip / APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3



29 Dried grapes 30 Acorn and butternut are varieties of this

DOWN 2 They're good scrambled, fried or boiled 3 Fish used for salads, casseroles and sandwiches 4 Final course 6 Smooth, sweet brown food made from cacao 7 Devil's food or angel food 9 Purple root vegetable

12 Also known as a "starter" 13 Refreshing citrus drink 15 Edible green flower head eaten as a vegetable 16 Dessert with strawberries and biscuits 17 Baked dough topped with cheese and more 21 They're used for cider, sauce and pies 24 Sauce made with meat juices 25 A bulb with strong odor and flavor used in cooking 27 Spicy tomato dip


Most Interesting Person We Know

JohnnyJoo finds beauty in the ugly, abandoned places

written by Noor Hindi

photos by Johnny Joo

Joo says he loves the water-damaged smell, and finds peace in being in “forgotten” buildings. In fact, one photo in the Rolling Acres gallery depicts one of his friends sitting atop a fountain, meditating. “It’s oddly calming, but I guess it’s mainly the fact that when I first started taking pictures of abandoned places, they would smell like that, so I guess that’s sort of nostalgic to me, from years ago,” Joo says. “It’s very quiet, and oddly lonely, but it’s peacefully lonely.”

As you push the glass doors open and walk in, you may feel like you’ve just entered the scene of post-apocalyptic movie in which you are the main character. The musty smell of waterdamaged walls overwhelm you as you begin photographing the destruction surrounding you, finding beauty in the wreckage you wish to capture with your Olympus E-3 camera. In addition to the familiar clicking of your shutter, the only other thing you hear is a consistent dripping in the background. A few minutes before leaving, you break out your skateboard. The sound of your wheels echoes through thousands of square feet in this abandoned space as you skate across the floor, dodging the many pieces of debris. Fun? Photographer Johnny Joo would reply with a confident “YES!” “When you’re inside, you feel like there is no life left,” Joo says. “It’s eerie and very surreal. You sit in the quiet and look at something that used to be so full of life be so empty.” This winter, Joo had the opportunity to photograph the snow-covered insides of the otherwise empty Rolling Acres Mall. A photojournalist from Mentor, Joo loves walking into deserted buildings to preserve them through his photos. His shoot of Rolling Acres struck a chord, sparking nostalgia for many in Akron. “You know, everything that is built is built to fall,” he says. “I hear that a lot of people went there and worked there, so it definitely has a place in people’s memories.”


Joo speaks calmly. His easy-going demeanor made the interview feel like catching up with an old friend. I poked fun at Joo for being late to the interview because he’d been off doing an impromptu shoot of a deserted factory in Cleveland that had caught on fire. His spontaneity and passion know no bounds. I could feel his energy and excitement as we spoke. Who wouldn’t want to photograph and skateboard though deserted malls? “I love the adventure, being with friends, and having the chance to document something that won’t be there forever. I find it interesting,” he says. Joo, who thinks the mall should be turned into a skate park, says “It’s every skateboarders dream to skateboard through an abandoned mall!” When in Akron, Joo says he enjoys going to Highland Square, and sitting in Angel Falls Coffee with friends. With a book of his photographs out now— “Empty Spaces: Photojournalism Through the Rust Belt”—Joo has a new adventure planned. He’s going on a three-month road trip to Oregon with friends, camping wherever possible, and photographing along the way. He says he’s excited to be “lost in the middle of nowhere.” You can check out more of Joo’s excursions, including his trips to Rolling Acres, by going to and photos/johnnyjoo/ or, by “liking” his fan page at .

APRIL 2015 • VOL 1 • ISSUE #3


THE Devil Strip |



The Devil Strip, Issue 3: The Mall is Dead! Long Live the Pop-up!  
The Devil Strip, Issue 3: The Mall is Dead! Long Live the Pop-up!  

Team Devil Strip has a couple big announcements to share. Plus, why we love Crafty Mart (and think you should too); a look inside the abando...