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Aug. 28, 2013

Two Buck Yuks KEITH BERGMAN launches new stand-up comedy series


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“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” — Mel Brooks

Two Buck Yuks By Matt Liasse

Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

Three years ago, Keith Bergman performed stand-up during an open mic at The Ground Level, a coffee shop formerly on Central Avenue. “I almost walked out. I was almost too nervous to get up,” he said. “When I did go up, I felt so good about it, I just kept going back.” Bergman’s set was mostly puns and one-liners and was in front of “maybe 10 to 15 people.” “I didn’t dive into anything that was more personal or really all that interesting,” he said. Bergman had performed stand-up before, but for years he explored other hobbies like theater and music. He thought if he’d ever want to do comedy again, he’d go to The Ground Level, since it was right by his house. “It was a great open mic. I wish that place was still there,” he said. The audience’s response motivated him to go back the next week. “I got a much better reaction than I had any right to,” Bergman said. “What seems to happen to a lot of people, and other people have confirmed this to me since, is people tend to be very sympathetic. When you get introduced and they say it’s your first time up, they all will give you the benefit of the doubt. They’re very encouraging.” Bergman said the audience’s support for beginners doesn’t last long. “For the most part, [for] a lot of people, their first set will go really well. Maybe their second set. And then it starts to sink in that they have a long way to go,” Bergman said. “It sort of sank in after a few different tries that it was going to be a really long process. I walked out there the first night thinking I was well on my way to being a real comedian. Three years later I realize I’m still not there yet.” Bergman said he has bombed a few shows. “It happens enough to keep you from getting too full of yourself,” Bergman said. “Usually you have no control over what kind of crowd is going to be there. I’ve ended up at shows where everyone there are retired or senior citizens. A lot of the jokes I have, they’re just not interested in what I have to say.” Bad shows keeps Bergman grounded. “There’s nothing glamorous about this at all,” he said. “There’s a ton of rejection in comedy. There are people I have been sending emails to for eight months who have never replied. It’s almost like you’re stalking them at some point.” Bergman has never been booed off stage but


Keith Bergman launches new stand-up comedy series.

Star of the Week

said he may prefer it to no reaction at all. “To get disinterest is almost the worst thing,” Bergman said. “Because then they hear you, they’re listening, they just don’t care what you’re saying.”

Two Buck Yuks

Bergman hopes to keep comedy lovers interested with his new showcase Two Buck Yuks. Comedians will perform stand-up at 8 p.m. every Wednesday, beginning Sept. 4. The shows will be 90 minutes and will take place in The Blarney Event Center in Downtown Toledo. There will be a $2 cover for the shows, which are open to anyone ages 21 and older. “A lot of people don’t realize there’s a really growing comedy scene in this area and in some of the surrounding cities,” Bergman said. Two Buck Yuks is already booked until Christmas. Comedians from Illinois and Tennessee are on the schedule already, in addition to ones from Ohio and Michigan. Bergman used to run a weekly comedy show at Connxtions Comedy Club. Since the venue closed for renovations in the spring, Bergman came up with “Two Buck Yuks” to fill the void. “I think Downtown needs something like [this]. It’s a good entertainment option,” Bergman said. “Especially midweek, there’s not always stuff to do. It would be nice for people to have another option so they don’t have to drive all the way out to the suburbs.” Bergman was put in contact with Bill Kline from The Blarney Irish Pub. Kline said it’s the perfect venue because the pub’s event center is a separate room from the bar and dining area. “We’re excited for the opportunity to host local and regional comedians, to give them a stage and to showcase their talents,” he said in an email. “We were on board from the moment Keith sat down with us and presented his plan, as we understood they had success at their previous venue.” Bergman said his favorite aspect of comedy is the immediacy. Two Bucks Yuks will be what he loves about comedy and more. “I think with any creative thing you are doing, it’s nice to see people feel the same way or react the same way,” Bergman said. “I see something [and] I think it’s funny, it’s gratifying to go onstage and have a room full of people also think it’s funny. They see where you’re coming from and they get it.”

‘Hashtag Rustbelt’

The first show will feature a special lineup. Bergman will perform with Stu McCallister from Grand Rapids, Mich., and local comic Mike Szar,

Keith Bergman is bringing a weekly stand-up series to The Blarney Event Center. TOLEDO FREE PRESS STAR PHOTO BY MATT LIASSE

two comedians he is making a comedy DVD with. The DVD, “Hashtag Rustbelt,” is expected to be available by Christmas. The three men will tour to promote the DVD, beginning at the show Sept. 4. They will leave directly afterward and drive to Alabama for their next gig. “It’s been interesting … we’re [doing] a lot of smaller venues, nonconventional comedy venues [and] in places that probably don’t get a lot of comedy,” McCallister said. “It’s a new experience.” The DVD was filmed in the spring, two weeks before Connxtions Comedy Club closed. It features 10 stand-up acts filmed over two nights. Erik Cribley, D.K. Hamilton, Steve Wherry, Thom Brush, Anthony Martinez, Dustin Meadows and Owen Thomas will also be featured.

The lineup

Sept. 4: Bergman, McCallister, Szar, Dwayne

Duke, Ryan Dickman and John Cessna. Sept. 11: Dustin Meadows, Lindsey Martin, Kamari Stevens, Esther Nevarez, Brad Wenzel, Kyle Tolliver, Anthony Martinez, Wes Ward, TJ Warner and Gad Holland. Sept. 18: Steve Sabo, Mary Santora, Yusuf Ali, Anthony Savatt, Samantha Rager, Sean Sullivan, Ed Bartko, Bobby Bayn, Chris Tiefel and Owen Thomas. Sept. 25: DK Hamilton, Erin Field, Michael Geeter, Joe Deez, Dan Fraley, Meghan Koesters, Jason Valentini and Szar. Oct. 2: Dave Landau, Dan Currie, Pat Sievert, David Wellfare, Robert Jenkins, Bryan Thompson, Jason Carlen, Mark Roebuck, Jake Dickey and Reese Leonard. Oct. 9: Zach Martina, Darnell Anderson, Jeremy Rowland, Jeff Horste, Kent Tucker, Robert Kemeny, Cody Cooper, LJ White, Keith Spurlock and Carl Johnson. O


“I’m going to hell. Ahhhhh ... but you’re laughing, so you’re coming.” — Dane Cook

The Niagara and the Jet Express are being prepared for the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie. PHOTO COURTESY LANCE WOODWORTH

Jet Express ready to handle increased traffic for bicentennial celebrations By Matt Liasse Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

The number of Jet Express ferries to Put-inBay has increased to accommodate the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial celebration taking place Aug. 29 to Sept. 10. On Sept. 10, 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of the U.S. Navy, with a crew of 557 sailors, battled a British fleet, said Lance Woodworth, who is general manager for Jet Express. “The American victory of the Battle of Lake Erie was a key turning point in the War of 1812,” Woodworth said. “It paved the way for Gen. Har-

rison’s attack and victory on the British and Indian forces of the Thames and American control of the territory through the end of the war. “With the end of the war, the Great Lakes never again saw naval warfare,” Woodworth said. “A later treaty demilitarized the AmericanCanadian border. The Jet Express offers its full support in the celebration of this great event in American history.” According to a news release, many activities are planned for the celebration. Visitors will be able to tour the ships or enlist as crew members in a re-enactment. Other activities include kayaking, parasailing and bike rides. Performers include Iris DeMent at 5:45 p.m.

Aug. 31, the Ohio State Marching Band at 8 p.m. on Sept. 1 and Tom Kastle Aug. 29 to Sept. 1. There will also be fireworks at 9 p.m. Sept. 1. For the complete list of events, visit battleof Woodworth said this is a victory to celebrate. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Woodworth said. “It will be a long time before anything like this comes back to the island.” Ferries will deliver riders directly to downtown Put-in-Bay, “the heart of all the bicentennial events,” Woodworth said. “Other than ferry, travel options are limited,” he said. “There is no bridge to the island.” Turnout for the celebration is expected to reach


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up to 6,000 passengers during the weekends and as high as 2,500 passengers on weekdays. “We will operate as many trips as necessary … to get people back and forth to Put-in-Bay,” Woodworth said. “We included nearly 20 additional trips into the published schedule but will keep adding as needed.” The schedule of ferries can be viewed and tickets can be purchased at Prices range from $29.98 round trip from Port Clinton and $39 round trip from Sandusky. All ages are welcome and there is a discount fare for children ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and younger are free. Parking is available at the Port Clinton and Sandusky docks. O

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“The only honest art form is laughter, comedy. You can’t fake it.” — Lenny Bruce



“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” — Peter Ustinov


‘This is Me’ sponsors Makeup Free Friday on Aug. 30 TO THE EDITOR, On Aug. 30, I am asking you to wear no makeup to work. I can hear the collective sounds of laughter from the other side of my keyboard as I type that, but I am serious. I am hoping to do something unique here in Toledo — start a new Ohio State-Michigantype tradition. Instead of wearing your favorite school’s colors the day before a big game, you and your fellow female co-workers wear zero makeup the Friday of Labor Day weekend. This Makeup-Free Friday is in support of This is Me, an art show benefiting Girls on the Run of Northwest Ohio (GOTR). Why not sleep an extra 20 minutes, all while raising awareness and collecting monies for a great cause? In the spirit of “jeans day” or “casual day,” this team-building exercise gives your office a fun vehicle to raise money to help bring GOTR to an inner-city school, while showing the solidarity, strength and self-confidence in your staff. We are hoping that offices would sell the privilege of working sans makeup for a small fee, similar to the way schools sell “jeans days.” Depending on the size of the staff at your office, we suggest a small fee from $5 and above for this new tradition. Why not get the same amount of sleep as your male co-

workers and demonstrate the strength it takes to do so? The office with the most money collected and who show the greatest This is Me spirit will get a prize pack including tickets from #thisismeToledo. #thisismeToledo is not just an event; it’s becoming a movement. I never understood the strength and courage it takes for some women to leave the house makeup-free, until I started this campaign. As a man, my sole responsibility in getting ready involves a shower, an occasional shave and getting dressed, hopefully with matching clothes. The amount of time women spend applying makeup every day will amass to years in their lifetimes. I am beyond thrilled at the community backing This is Me has been receiving. This is Me has gained support from media partners at Toledo Free Press and Clear Channel. The University of Toledo’s Athletic Department allowed the ladies’ soccer and basketball teams to participate, and the Toledo Mud Hens lent us Muddonna for a photo. This is Me happens from 7-11 p.m. Sept. 13 at The Blarney Event Center in Downtown Toledo. This night will feature the art of Lee Ann Bates and music from The Rivets and Kristie Marie. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Girls on the Run of Northwest Ohio. For tickets visit www.thisis- or call (419) 318-9211. If your office is planning on participating or has questions about our Makeup-Free Friday, please message Jeremy Baumhower on Facebook. O JEREMY BAUMHOWER, Sylvania


Thank you from Toledo Pride TO THE EDITOR, On behalf of the entire Toledo Pride committee — Lexi Staples, Brent Rabie, Kelly Heuss, Nicole Hayman, Mandisa Kekulah, Justin Veigel, Sherry Tripepi, Tori Thorne and Deanna Eff — we would like to extend a huge round of applause and appreciation to the entire Toledo Free Press staff. Once again you went above and beyond the call of duty in standing up for the Toledo LGBT community as our official media sponsor for the Toledo Pride festival and parade events. The 22-page pride guide supplement was outstanding pre-coverage for the event showcasing the leaders and supporters of Toledo Pride. No other media outlet did more to bring awareness to the event and help make it the huge success it was, attracting more than 15,000 members of the LGBT community and our allies.

We would also like to thank everyone who volunteered, donated, attended, performed, advertised and supported Toledo Pride in any shape, form or fashion.

Rick CORNETT Toledo Pride


We would also like to thank everyone who volunteered, donated, attended, performed, advertised and supported Toledo Pride in any shape, form or fashion. The event has come a long way since it debuted in 2010 and we are only going to get bigger and better with your support. Toledo Pride is looking forward to a long and lasting working relationship with Toledo Free Press in educating, promoting and supporting LGBT rights for a better tomorrow. O Rick Cornett, Toledo Pride Committee




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“Slap-stick comedy is funny, unless you’re the one getting slapped with the stick.” — Carroll Bryant


36th Holiday with Heart set for Dec. 8 Toledo’s Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla isn’t just a fancy night out that longtime attendees look forward to each year. It’s the longest-running annual fundraiser benefiting local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) causes in the state. Taglined “the premier social event for LGBT community and friends,” the 36th annual event will be 4-11 p.m. Dec. 8 at The Toledo Club, 235 14th St. This year’s beneficiaries will be The Holiday with Heart Fund and Rainbow Area Youth (RAY), a local peer group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning teens ages 13-19. “We are excited to be benefiting Rainbow Area Youth this year for the first time,” said Rick Cornett, a member of the group’s board of directors. “That organization is a great asset to the needs of LGBT youth. Coming out can be a hard and scary time for someone young who is trying to find acceptance from family, friends, classmates and co-workers. I wish a group like RAY had been around in the 1980s when I was coming out and trying to find my way.” Last year’s Gayla raised $13,000 for beneficiaries including The Toledo Pride Foundation, the Toledo office of AIDS Resource Center Ohio, The Gay and Lesbian Student Endowment Fund at the University of Toledo and The Holiday with Heart Fund. All funds raised stay in the community. “Each year we have raised more money than the year before,” Cornett said. “I wish we could get more corporate sponsorship. It has been a slow and hard fight to get financial support from major corporations. Skylight Financial Group stepped

up last year and was a big help. They are very supportive of the gay community here in Toledo.” Attendees can expect an elegant evening with a served dinner, cash bar, DJ and dancing, live entertainment, 50-50 raffle and plenty of networking and socializing opportunities, Cornett said. “The Toledo Club is a historic and beautiful place for our event and all the Christmas trees and decorations are breathtaking,” Cornett said. “It is a great way to kick off the holiday season for a good cause that benefits the local LGBT community.” Cost is yet to be determined, but reserving tickets early is suggested as the 300-seat Gayla has sold out for the past several years. All are welcome, said Cornett, who has attended the event since 1991. “Although this charity benefits LGBT causes, we want everyone to know that our straight allies are welcome to join us,” Cornett said. “The evening is a fun mix of younger and older people who enjoy the diversity the LGBT community is known for. This isn’t an invite-only event.” The Holiday with Heart Fund, administered through the Toledo Community Foundation, was established in 2011 in memory of Gayla co-founder Dick Flock. Once an initial $25,000 is raised, the fund will be used to support local LGBT causes year-round. So far, more than $17,000 has been raised. Toledo Free Press is a media sponsor of the Gayla. For more information, visit the web site O — Sarah Ottney





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Launch Pad Cooperative announces six member artists, film screening By Matt Liasse Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

Launch Pad Cooperative will kick off its 2013-14 fiscal year with six selected artists. Five of the six artists have art featured in “Between Blisters & Blue Skies,” the gallery’s current exhibition of work curated by co-founders Timothy Gaewsky and Crystal Phelps. The featured artists were chosen after an extensive review based on a number of criteria. “We sort of approached the whole selection process almost like curating a show,” Gaewsky said. “We were looking at the work in terms of how one artist’s work would complement another artist’s work and selected the artists based on that.” Gaewsky said he wanted to have a diverse but cohesive group. The first display of these artists’ works will be in January at Launch Pad’s 911 Jefferson Ave. location. All the artists are local and bring something different to the gallery, Gaewsky said. “All of them are in various stages of their artistic career,” he said. Two teach, one has other gallery representations and another is beginning graduate school. “We really wanted to have that, to share each other’s networks and other opportunities.” Selected artists Jefferson Nelson and Ben Lock will be paired for their exhibit. The two have not yet met. n COOPERATIVE CONTINUES ON 9

Launch Pad Cooperative is based at 911 Jefferson Ave. PHOTO COURTESY TIMOTHY GAEWSKY




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“Humanity is a comic role.” — Novalis n COOPERATIVE CONTINUED FROM 8 Nelson said he will probably include sculpture and painting in the gallery. He said he usually doesn’t stick to one medium of art. “I like to solve problems,” Nelson said. “My work is also an experimentation, trying to see what kind of boundaries I can push with the material, and I have a vast array of knowledge when it comes to fabrication and building and sculpting. So I’m always looking for something challenging to do.” Lock, who is new to the area, said he will probably display new work in the gallery. He works mostly with metal sculpting. “I’m interested in learning more about what Launch Pad’s plan is for the member artists,” Lock said. “I’m really excited [to] get more involved with Toledo and the Toledo art scene.” Another artist, Carrie Day, is excited to have her work featured in the gallery. She works mostly with paint and ceramics. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3-D Studies from Bowling Green State University. Day said a lot of her work lately is a reflection on her childhood. “I think I’m at an age where I’m trying to process a lot of what happened when I was young and I don’t have vivid memories,” Day said. Other artists involved include Casey Smith, Julia LaBay and Hannah Lehmann.

Toledo AV Club Art Movie Night

In collaboration with Toledo AV Club, Launch Pad Cooperative will sponsor viewings of an art-related movie once a month. “[It] is, quite simply, an excuse to watch re-

ally good movies with others in the area that enjoy the same subject matter,” Toledo AV Club founder Mark Troknya said. “These movies may not have been shown in Toledo and may not have made it on everyone’s radar initially. The idea was born after University of Toledo Art History Professor Dr. Mysoon Rizk screened the documentary ‘How to Survive a Plague’ earlier this year, and I thought ‘Someone should do this regularly.’” Launch Pad Cooperative screened a film earlier in the summer “to much success,” Gaewsky said. “At this point there hasn’t really been an art film series or a venue that shows artists’ documentaries,” Gaewsky said. On Sept. 9, the feature “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” directed by Miranda July, will be screened at UT’s Haigh Auditorium at the Center for Visual Arts Museum Campus at 620 Grove Place. The event will be free. “It’s one of those quirky art films that both Mark and I enjoy,” Gaewsky said. The movie follows Christine Jesperson, a lonely artist and “Eldercab” driver, newly single shoe-salesman Richard Swersey and 7-year-old Robby, who is having an Internet romance with a stranger. The characters find redemption in their tortured lives as the film goes on. “We’re trying to show films that were either directed by artists or documentaries about artists,” Gaewsky said. Gaewsky said Launch Pad Cooperative is also planning an experimental film festival for November. O


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“If you cannot find an element of humor in something, you’re not taking it seriously enough.” — Ilyas Kassam

the patio is now open

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wine, martinis and live entertainment Thursday


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(419) 873-6224 Open: 11 a.m. to late MondayWednesday, 11-2 a.m. Thursday-Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. (Kitchen open until 11 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday)

in the center of the historic Oliver House is used by The Café at Petit-Fours at lunchtime and by Mutz in the evening, said Neal Kovacik, general manager of Oliver House Operations. The space also features open mic nights on Wednesday, karaoke on

Swig is all about homemade everything from hot dogs to bacon and features

Thursday, live bands on Friday and DJs on Saturday. O

an extensive selection of American and t, import craft beers in bottles and draugh

ub’s said owner Tony Bilancini. The gastrop s feature patio r outdoo large, full-service y daily food specials and live music Tuesda through Saturday, weather permitting.

Swig also hosts “tap takeovers,” trivia night to on Mondays and offers front-row seats Perrysburg’s Thursday Farmers Market and First Friday events. O

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By Brandi Barhite Toledo Free Press STAR Community Ombudsman

Amy Ottney thought she was just touring the USS Missouri on Aug. 30, 2011. Her sailor boyfriend, Alex Wolff, had won a trip to Hawaii for three people that included a private tour of the ship. Because he was deployed, he chose Amy, his mother and sister for the trip. Amy was excited because his squadron was making a stop in Hawaii on its way back to San Diego. She would catch a glimpse of him before he was home for a true reunion after seven months at sea. But first, Amy was taking a tour of the Missouri. She didn’t think it was unusual cameras were in her face because it was part of the contest deal. She got on the Missouri with Alex’s family and started taking in the history of Pearl Harbor. As she got farther into the ship, she recognized someone, but she wasn’t sure why. It was Matthew Rogers, the host of one of her favorite reality shows, Lifetime’s “Coming Home.” “It took me a moment to realize what it meant. I knew what was coming up. Then I was really excited about it.” Alex was there to greet her at the end of a long line of sailors. n PROPOSALS CONTINUES ON 14


Elaborate proposals new trend in engagements


Zach Garrow proposed to his girlfriend Jacquelyn Hodgson at a Detroit Tigers game Aug. 17.

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y husband proposed on the ninth anniversary of our first date. He didn’t plan a scavenger hunt. He didn’t place an ad in a newspaper (although that would have been fitting). He didn’t take me on a trip. He just asked. And it was perfect. At the time, I lived in Sandusky and he lived in Millbury. We made plans to eat dinner at SamB’s in Bowling Green, which is where we dined on our first date. I arrived at his duplex before he did, so I let myself in. I remember seeing this huge box on the front porch. I picked it up and it felt empty, so I pushed it toward the garbage. When Brandi BARHITE my boyfriend got home, he brought in the big box and said, “Why didn’t you bring this in?” “I thought it was garbage,” I said. “No, it is something for my bike,” he said. “Help me open it.” I got down on the ground and ripped open the box. It was filled with foam peanuts. I started dumping them out — and there in the middle of the mess was a ring box. With the ring on, we went to SamB’s. By ourselves. No photos. We didn’t even tell the server. I know over-the-top proposals are all the rage right now. I know having my family there at the dinner would be the “in” thing to do. I know my engagement story isn’t “Facebook worthy.” I actually only have a few photos from that night and all of them are out of focus. The only thing I need to remember is he asked — and I said yes. O Brandi Barhite is community ombudsman for Toledo Free Press.

Fall 2013 Bridal Guide n PROPOSALS CONTINUED FROM 13 “I thought it was such a crazy surprise that I was going to see him. I thought that was the surprise.” But it wasn’t. He started to push her away and all of a sudden he dropped to one knee. “The additional layer was when he asked me to marry him,” she said, with a squeal. Creating the perfect proposal is becoming a huge trend, according to Stacy Tasman, the founder of New York-based blog How He She isn’t surprised by a reality show engagement. “They are getting bigger and better from a details perspective. It used to be a man would pick a romantic place and give a few words and then pop the question,” Tasman said. “Now instead of just saying the words, he is planning it all out with a whole day or evening.” In her opinion, the trend started because people were sharing their engagements on Facebook and people wanted to know the details. No one wants to have a lame story. Also, women are mostly in charge of the wedding, and the proposal gives the man a chance to showcase his creativity, she said. Tasman started after her girlfriend got engaged. She wanted other couples to be able share their engagement stories. It has since morphed into a business featuring vendors willing to help create the perfect proposal. “I had a girlfriend get engaged and her now-husband asked me to come to the proposal. I was like, ‘I will come to the wedding, but what do you mean the proposal?’” Tasman said. “My friend was a small-town girl and he wanted to include everyone who was meaningful to her. We flew down to Florida and he took her to the beach in her backyard where she had grown up and popped the question with shells. When she came back to the house, everyone was there to celebrate.” Tasman said popular proposals these days include scavenger hunts and getting family members involved. “It isn’t just saying the words, it is putting them into action,” she said. While planning packages start at $3,000, Tasman said her ad-

vice is to focus on little moments in the relationship when you ask. “When you pull those out of your relationship and put those into an engagement, that is very meaningful,” she said. Jacquelyn Hodgson of Toledo knows about meaningful proposals. Her boyfriend, Zach Garrow, proposed Aug. 17 at a Detroit Tigers game. They weren’t even sitting next to each other, so Jacqueline didn’t suspect anything. In the bottom of the second inning, a Tigers employee started to organize a trivia game with the mascot, Paws. Zach volunteered to play. Jacquelyn became his partner. The question was: Who won the Triple Crown last year? When Jacquelyn answered Miguel Cabrera (with help from the crowd), Paws opened his paw. Inside was a baseball that asked her to marry Zach. “I had no idea,” Jacquelyn said. “At first, I didn’t even cry because I was in complete shock.” Fortunately, Zach’s family was at the game with them and captured the moment on video and film. Tasman said a proposal won’t be perfect unless someone documents it. “Have someone in the bushes or someone to take photos to capture it,” she said. Amy and Alex love having their episode “Undercover Engagement” to watch whenever they want. They ended up eloping Sept. 10, 2011, and live as the Wolff family in Southern California where they met. Interestingly, they grew up just four miles apart. Alex graduated from Genoa High School; Amy graduated from Oak Harbor. When she was dating him, she never expected such an elaborate proposal. “Now that I really know him, I know he will go all out. He is zero or 100 in everything. If something is really important to him, he blows it up,” Amy said. On the show, Alex told the host: “A proposal is huge. For a guy, it is saying, ‘I am putting it all on the line here. I want to spend the rest of my life with you forever.’” Since then, he has more thoughts on the topic. “You only ask someone to marry you once; you don’t want any regrets and you want it to be something that she’ll replay over and over in her head and still be telling your grandkids.” O



Fall 2013 Bridal Guide


Alex Wolff surpRised his girlfriend Amy Ottney with a proposal on the USS Missouri in Hawaii in 2011. The Northwest Ohio natives, now living in California, eloped SHORTLY AFTER.


Fall 2013 Bridal Guide


Engaged couples spend countless hours and thousands of dollars planning their weddings, but most spend far less time preparing for the marriages that follow, say area counselors and religious leaders who offer premarital counseling. “It’s so easy to get caught up in all that activity,” said deacon Joe Malenfant of Maumee St. Joseph Catholic Church. “Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for receptions and parties. But it’s very easy to focus on the hall, the caterer, the dress, the tuxedos, the limo and all of those things and forget that’s planning for the wedding. What we’re trying to do is plan for the marriage.” Ryan Osier, owner of Reiso Resources, which specializes in relational counseling, agreed. “[Marriage] takes work,” Osier said. “Couples think it will just naturally happen and that is a misconception. We will spend years and years getting our education for a career we want for 20 to 30 years, but we won’t do much for our relationships we say we want for the rest of our lives.” Osier spent 10 years developing a relationship assessment that helps couples see how each perceives their relationship. n COUNSELING CONTINUES ON 17


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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide n COUNSELING CONTINUED FROM 16 “We don’t force couples to do it, but I have found this eliminates having to do eight to 10 sessions,” Osier said. “It narrows it down in one or two and gives you a good picture of what’s going on.” The assessment evaluates the person on agape (unselfish or security love), eros (chemistry or erotic love) and phileo (compatibility or friendship love). Most people are naturally stronger in one area, but ideally the three will be balanced, Osier said. “There’s nothing like being intimate with your friend and there’s nothing like being vulnerable to a person you are passionate with,” Osier said. “When you start bridging it all together, relationships will last through all times, stages, children, death — whatever comes your way, you can make it work.” No one knows what challenges their marriage will bring, Malenfant said. “I ask couples, ‘Where was Bush on Sept. 6, 2001?’ He was in Toledo with [Mexican president] Vicente Fox and they were talking about immigration. The next week everything changes,” Malenfant said. “That’s what marriage is like. Anybody getting married really doesn’t know what the issues of that marriage are going to be. What we’re trying to do is help them build that foundation so that whatever the issue is, they can get through it.” Many churches, including St. Joseph’s, require couples to go through premarital counseling. “A lot of couples will come in and you can tell we’re sort of a hoop for them to jump through,” Malenfant said. “But most end up appreciating that it gave them a time to think and be reflec-

tive. I would encourage it to anyone getting married, whether it’s through the Catholic Church or wherever.” Premarital sessions often raise issues that may be uncomfortable, but are important to discuss, such as children, finances, sexuality and faith, Malenfant said. “My job is not to tell you to get married or not. I see my role in this as a discussion starter,” Malenfant said. “In every marriage there are issues that will probably never be resolved, so you need the good communication skills and so forth so you are able to work around them and not let them be destructive to the relationship.” Premarital counseling also allows the officiant to get to know the couple better, Malenfant said. “It’s great because we build a relationship,” Malenfant said. “I don’t just show up and do their wedding and forget their last name or whatnot because we’ve spent a lot of time together.” Couples getting married at CedarCreek Church go through a premarriage mentoring program, meeting with a married couple for several months and working through a book. “We’ve tried different things, but to have one couple sit down with an engaged couple, we find they open up so much more and become so much more honest,” said Donna Eoff, community care pastor at CedarCreek’s Perrysburg campus. “The mentoring couple usually makes themselves vulnerable with what they’ve struggled with in their own marriage. We’ve found the couples gain awareness and are more willing to get some help later if problems surface. They come away with a plan for how to handle things when things do go awry.”


Emily Hermiller of Perrysburg, who went through CedarCreek’s premarriage mentoring with her fiance Zak in 2011 after dating for five years, said the experience was “super impactful.” “The No. 1 thing that was communicated through it was to talk to each other,” Hermiller said. “Not to go to your sister or your best friend, but to always communicate with each other first. I think that’s been huge in our relationship and our lives.” Eoff said she wishes there had been a premarital counseling requirement when she married 45 years ago. “I bet we didn’t even spend 15 minutes with this pastor that married us,” Eoff said. “We know we can never truly prepare someone for marriage, but we just like to plant a lot of seeds that shows them it’s a lot of work, but they don’t have to do it alone.” Toledoans Tim and Kelly Keefer dated for two years and were engaged for two years before marrying in 2011. Neither is religious, so they met with Maumee-based counselor Dianne Haslinger for several months. “Tim and I were both older, very set in our ways, very independent,” Kelly Keefer said via Facebook. “It was going to be hard combining our worlds and we knew it. We wanted to learn the best way to become a couple and still keep our independence. ... We really just wanted to learn how to make our relationship the best it could be.” One major topic was handling arguments and disagreements, Keefer said. “We really did already have a great relationship, with very open communication, but our fights were horrible. We could communicate

great as long as everything was happy, but if something made us unhappy, we both had issues getting it across how or why,” Keefer said. “I can honestly say we have not had a huge fight like we did before we saw her. It has changed our communication immensely. We definitely learned more about each other.” Church leaders who are not certified counselors said they will refer couples to a professional if issues arise that they feel are beyond their skills. “Sometimes we quickly need to know our limitations,” Malenfant said. “There have been couples where I have said, ‘You really need to see a trained professional counselor’ and then I make recommendations and they either do or they don’t. We don’t force them.” Mark Haskins, vice president of program operations with Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio, said many couples decide to undergo premarital counseling because they want the input of an uninvolved third party. Some decide not to get married after all, Haskins said. “We start with what the clients are looking for in terms of their goals and then we go from there,” Haskins said. “We just ask questions, challenge them. It gives you an opportunity to put things on the table.” Even if marriage counseling is not required, Eoff recommends considering it. “Your wedding day is not the end. It’s the beginning,” Eoff said. “Put some time into it. You can discover a lot of things about each other even going through books on your own. Just doing something is worth all the time you invest in it.” O

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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide


Anyone who has ever braved the dating scene can testify that a lack of compatible mates seems to simply be part of the game. With the exception of those rare, love-at-first-sight, it-wasjust-meant-to-be scenarios, matching up with one’s ideal counterpart can be a challenge. It’s no wonder, then, that online dating would eventually catch on. But just how much may come as a surprise. About 35 percent of couples married between 2005-12 met online, according to a recent Forbes article, citing a survey led by John T. Cacioppo of the University of Chicago. That’s a staggering number, considering that online dating was until recently considered a bit taboo. Angi, a former Toledoan who prefers her last name unpublished for professional reasons, moved to Columbia, Mo., to attend graduate school in 2006. However, she found herself in a tough spot for trying to date in an unfamiliar locale. “I was crazy busy with grad school and hadn’t met very many ‘good’ guys in Columbia,” she said. “I had gotten in a car accident. I was on serious pain meds and found that I couldn’t study

once I got home from classes and work. So I created an online dating profile on to give me something to do.” Eventually, she crossed cyber-paths with the man who would become her husband. “I ‘winked’ at him on the site, [but] it didn’t match us. He sent me a message and we sent emails back and forth for a couple of weeks before our first date. Interestingly enough, we didn’t talk on the phone except the day of the date to make arrangements.” Long story short, dating went well and they lived happily ever after. But Angi said a momentary lapse in confidence almost stopped things before they began. “We both almost canceled that day. It’s quite funny for me now looking back on it.” Online dating has some advantages over more traditional means, Angi said. “It provided a convenience I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I didn’t have time to go out and meet people. I also didn’t want to date the 25-year-old law student I met at a bar. I could chat a safe distance away from people before I decided whether I wanted to meet them in person.” For some, the option to choose someone who shares a similar spirituality or worldview is of high importance. Alyssa Stanton of Monroe, utilized to meet her fiancé,


Growing number of married couples met online



Ethan Hatt. “To be honest, I just wanted to network a little and try something new,” Stanton said. “I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what kind

of guys were in my area already, and I wanted to see if there was someone more compatible with me.” n ONLINE CONTINUES ON 19

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n ONLINE CONTINUED FROM 18 In Stanton’s case, things moved along quickly. She had only been registered with the dating site for three days before she met Hatt. “We began emailing, and then became friends on Facebook,” she said. “[That] turned into hours-long Skype sessions. Our first date was about 10 days after we started talking.” Tanner Myerholtz and Leandra Espen of Oak Harbor also met online, and are now engaged to be married — although both had to go through a bit of trial and error to find each other. “We both met a few crazies before we found each other,” Myerholtz said. “I met a couple [girls] whose pictures were lies, and one of them turned out to be a blackout drunk.” “I met a few who just wanted to be friends, which is weird,” Espen added. Myerholtz summarized the process of how he finally met Espen. “We met each other’s criteria, so I messaged her, and she messaged me back, and that was the beginning of the end.” He added that, while he was excited and a little nervous about meeting Espen in person, he did not want to make any lavish plans, having learned his lesson from previous dates. “I didn’t plan anything,” he said. “I planned dinner, and that’s it. But we ended up hitting it off.” Like most online dating encounters, their first meeting took place in a public place. For the second date, Myerholtz picked up Espen at her home for a proper date. “We ended up going to dinner and a movie, followed by quite a few dates after that,” Myerholtz said. The couple agreed that among the advantages of online dating, simplicity is one of the more appealing aspects. “It just makes it easier,” Espen said. “I think that people know what they want when they’re ready to settle down.” Settling down was something that Leah Myers of Genoa knew she wanted right after high school. However, when she decided to give

online dating a try, it was 2003 and had not yet risen to mainstream use. “Back [then], it had kind of the stigma as the kind of place you went as a last resort,” she said. “I wanted a partner, somebody who was going to be a really supportive person. Even though I was young, it was something I knew that I wanted.” Leah explained she had dated “a few guys” to no avail. A friend suggested they both sign up at what was then a new website, A decade later, Leah has now been married to James, the man she was eventually matched with, for nine years. Their story is a promising testimony for online daters — even though Leah initially paid little mind to her husband’s profile. “He looked like a nerd in his picture,” she said. “I didn’t even look at his profile. I looked at his picture, and I just thought, ‘No, I’m not interested.’ But I looked at his profile a couple weeks later, and he described himself as everything I’d been looking for, so I decided to initiate contact.” The pair began exchanging emails, but it was six weeks before they met in person for a date. “I was nervous, in the sense that it was this first date with a girl I really liked,” James said. “[But] we had spent several weeks getting to know each other through emails and phone conversations, so I felt comfortable with the connection we’d already made.” “We actually had exchanged emails for so long before we met in person that I felt like I had known him for years by then,” Leah added. “We had so much in common, and we actually had some mutual friends, so I really wasn’t nervous when it came to actually meeting him in person.” James and Leah emphasized that freedom of choice is likely why online dating has become so popular today. “There is a community of people waiting until they’re older to get married, or relocating to different areas,” Leah said. “It takes a little bit of the guessing game out of dating.” She added that the website intuitively knew exactly what she was looking for in James. “I couldn’t have picked him better myself.” O

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Fall 2013 Br

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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide

By Paige Shermis Toledo Free Press STAR Staff Writer

Wives have a traditional list for what to give their husbands each year for their anniversary — paper for the first, wood for the fifth, silk for the 12th, and so on. But, what does a bride give her new husband as a wedding gift? And what if a wife is bored by the anniversary gifting protocol? That’s where Artography419 comes in. Artography419 is a boudoir photography studio located in NorthNEMETH west Ohio and run by Michael Nemeth and Christina Bish. Nemeth, a longtime commercial photographer, creates the images, and Bish, a former model, acts as a stylist and manager. Boudoir photography is a genre of sensual or sexually suggestive photography. However, Nemeth said, the eroticism of the photograph often has little to do with what the subject is wearing. “Sexy can be anything. It can be a white Tshirt, it can be a lacy bra. Beauty is inside the person,” Nemeth said.


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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide

n BOUDOIR CONTINUED FROM 22 For Nemeth, the jump from business and other commercial photography to boudoir photography was natural. “To me, [boudoir] doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch. I take pictures, whether they’re pictures of businessmen or boudoir pictures, and the same energy goes into it,” he said. Nemeth, a Bowling Green native, began shooting photographs for the Sentinel-Tribune as a teen. He received a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from Bowling Green State University and then moved to New York City (“the Mount Everest of photography”) to shoot commercially. After his son started school, Nemeth and his family moved back to the Toledo area, but he continued to work for his contacts in New York. Nemeth shot the cover for the February issue of Popular Mechanics. “My hairstylist recommended that I try to do boudoir photography. We were trying to think of ways that I could do something local. I didn’t want to do weddings … [and] I didn’t want to shoot babies. In a normal person’s lifetime, they’re going to get their picture taken professionally three times: when they’re a senior in high school, when they have a wedding and when the wife forces the husband to get their pictures taken for their 25th anniversary. Boudoir is another opportunity for people to get their pictures taken,” Nemeth said. After his hairstylist connected Nemeth with Bish, who has a degree from BGSU in apparel merchandising, their business plan took off. Artography419 has no permanent studio. Instead, Nemeth and Bish shoot on location at various bed and breakfasts in the area. Although Nemeth is a male photographer working with female subjects (for those wondering: No, his wife doesn’t mind), Bish said Nemeth’s talent and personality make shoots relaxed and fun. “I’ve never felt so comfortable and so alive as when I worked with him as a subject,” Bish said. “Photographers are always going to tell you, you get four photos or 10 and they give you 50 to choose from. I think he gave me 500 to look at. I think I narrowed it to 499. ... I really loved them and I really liked the experience. There’s a lot that he does and there’s a lot that he offers that other photographers don’t.”

Before each shoot, clients meet with Nemeth and Bish, often in a coffee shop, for a model meeting. Typical clients of Artography419 are engaged women, married women who want to give presents to their husbands, or women who want to capture the way they look in their youth. “When we actually get to talk about the process, it’s that model meeting that sets us apart from anybody else. You get to find out what you like, what you don’t like and you get to be friends with them,” Bish said. During the meeting, they discuss the client’s preferences and then go through the shoot day’s schedule so there will be no surprises. At the model meeting, Bish guides the client as to what they should wear and they discuss different hairstyles and makeup looks, whether it’s dramatic or natural. After the model meeting, each client is instructed to do their homework: they must look through GQ and Victoria’s Secret advertisements and shoots to see what they like. Different packages are available at Artography419. The most expensive packages include a personal shopping spree with Bish at Victoria’s Secret. The least expensive package is much more compressed, buying the client a couple of hours of photography. “It’s work, but it’s fun work. It’s not awkward. Everyone’s nervous at first. By the time they leave, they’re rocking it. They’ve discovered how to pose for the camera. … By the end of the shoot they are a completely different person, really. It’s amazing how much their confidence rises,” Bish said. Overall, Nemeth said, the rising popularity of boudoir photography is not a surprise. “This whole overall trend fits into a larger visual trend, I think, even with weddings and infant photography. Since the Internet and technology, people are so much more image savvy and they expect things at a higher level. They look at pictures in the magazines and want their pictures to be like that,” Nemeth said. Nemeth stresses that the boudoir photographs are not meant to be lewd or racy. “We are not really taking sexy pictures; we are taking portraits. We are trying to be evocative, not provocative. It’s not shooting people undressed, it’s really about attitude. Sexy is an attitude,” Nemeth said. For more information, visit www.arto O



Fall 2013 Bridal Guide

Don’t forget financial promises when planning wedding vows


wedding day is a time when we exchange vows of love, hope and fidelity, but we seldom address one important part of our soon-to-be married lives and that is the financial vows we should be taking. It is estimated that 54 percent of all marital arguments stem from disputes about money. Researchers at Utah State University tell us couples who argued about finances once a week were twice as likely to divorce compared to couples who fought about it less than once a month. And with people getting married later in life, more than two-thirds of couples bring $5,000 or more in debt to the marDavid W. riage in which they are now expected to “share and share alike” in all things. O Financial vow 1: According to certified financial planner Robin Vaccai Yess, couples should “put emotion and lust aside to have a talk about your finances.” Make a date and talk openly about your financial situation — the good, bad and the ugly. It is better to know in the beginning the other person’s financial situation than to be surprised and resentful later. O Financial vow 2: According to personal finance author Matt Bell, couples need to track expenses together. Create a budget reflective of your spending habits and financial capabilities. O Financial vow 3: His, hers and ours — this is how couples should view money management. Have a joint checking account where both parties make a monthly financial commitment for things such as auto loan payments, mortgage, utilities, etc. What is left can be placed in each

spouse’s personal account for discretionary use. O Financial vow 4: Set up an emergency fund. It is estimated that 41 percent of American households could not come up with $500 in an emergency. Yes, it is that bad. Do not be one of them. You should collectively keep three to six months of income in some form of savings account for emergencies. O Financial vow 5: Address the debt in your life. Bell further states that “For married couples, just starting their lives together can be a huge source of stress. Debt only makes a marriage more difficult.” This is so true, the more persistently debt hangs on, the fewer financial options you have, the more frustrated you feel and the more arguments arise. To avoid this common point of contention, come up with a plan for regular payments to bring the debt level down. Then get rid of extra credit cards. Keep just two cards as a marital unit and do not use them unless you are prepared to pay the entire balance off when the bill comes. O Financial vow 6: Work with a financial planner/adviser. It makes a lot of sense to talk to a professional about your financial goals as a couple and this professional can help you achieve them. Don’t forget to add these “vows” to the marriage process. Marriage can be challenging enough, so don’t let money issues get in your way or forever hold thy peace. O




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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide

In Lucas County, both the bride and groom must be present when filling out an application for a marriage license. Couples have the option of completing their marriage license application online, printing it and then bringing it into the court for further processing. A marriage license is valid for 60 days after it has been issued. An ordained or licensed minister of any religion within the state who is licensed with the secretary of state or a judge in municipal or county court may solemnize marriages. Marriage licenses can be obtained, first come, first serve, at the Lucas County Probate Court, 700 Adams St., Suite 200, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost is $50 and must be paid in cash. What you need: O Government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID) O Social Security number (requested but not mandatory) O Birth certificate for those younger than 21 O Copy of final Decree of Divorce, Dissolution or Annulment for those previously married O Copy of previous spouse’s death certifi-


How to obtain a marriage license in Lucas County

cate for widows/widowers Ohio residents must obtain a marriage license in the county where either the bride or groom resides. There is no waiting period on marriage licenses and weddings may take place the same day. For more information, call (419) 213-4361 or visit O Source: Lucas County Probate Court


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1/11/13 11:51 AM


Fall 2013 Bridal Guide


When Jessica Letson walks down the aisle in May, she wants to focus on her groom and the joyful faces of their friends and relatives — not a sea of camera lenses and cellphones. Letson and her fiance, Matt Hosley, both 29, of Toledo are planning an “unplugged” ceremony at Blessed Sacrament Church. “We decided we wanted everybody to be there with us, not busy on their cellphones and not being in the way of the camera men when they are getting the shots,” Letson said. “I’ve requested the priest to say something before the ceremony along the lines of ‘Jessica and Matt want you to be here with them instead of behind your camera’ and ask them nicely to put it away.” Letson said the response from guests has mainly been confusion. Although she isn’t planning to actually collect phones or cameras, she hopes attendees will respect the couple’s wishes. “I’ve had, ‘Well, what if we take the flash off?’” Letson said. “I don’t mind if they don’t have the flash on, but I’d rather them not have it altogether.” The couple, who are high school sweethearts, first heard of unplugged weddings through their photographers at Love is Greater Photography. “I’ve seen some of the stuff that’s been posted where someone’s flash ruined the first kiss or ruined walking down the aisle with their dad and those are all moments I want to catch on camera and not have someone — even with the best of intentions — ruin a shot,” Letson said. “We’ve been together for 15 years, so we definitely wanted this day to be something we remember looking back on pictures.” The trend of unplugged ceremonies has many area wedding photographers rejoicing. “Our culture is so obsessed with capturing every single moment through a device that we aren’t experiencing these moments firsthand,” Mary Wyar of Mary Wyar Photography wrote in an email. “I find it so sad, because experiencing a wedding without having a phone or camera distracting you is much more emotional and special.” Wyar said the increase in guest photography has forced her to change the way she photographs weddings. “It has become such a normal occurrence to have arms extended to the middle of the aisle, blocking the bride’s processional that I have had to change the way I photograph this portion of the ceremony to avoid having the bride’s face blocked by these devices,” Wyar said. “The angle of choice, down lower, isn’t as flattering but beats totally losing that photograph. “The absolute worst incident I have encountered was a guest stepping directly in front of the groom during the bride’s processional, where he did not even see his bride walk down the aisle. ... Luckily, all of my couples do a first look three hours prior to the ceremony so the groom wasn’t seeing his bride for the first time. Nonetheless, this is still an emotional moment and he didn’t get to experience it.” Wyar was one of several local photographers who said a recent blog post by North Canton-


based wedding photographer Corey Ann Balazowich of Corey Ann Photography resonated with them. Balazowich’s post, titled “Why You Should Have an Unplugged Wedding,” garnered hundreds of shares and a lot of attention, including an interview with The New York Times. In her post, Balazowich shared numerous wedding photos inadvertently ruined by a guest stepping in front of a couple’s first kiss, a couple washed out by or in shadows thrown by a guest’s camera flash or a red focusing dot on a bride’s dress from a guest camera. Flashes can also cause the wedding party to blink in the pro photos, added Julie Paszczykowski of JP Photography. And guests trying to take photos during formal portraits cause wandering eyes, as subjects aren’t sure which camera to look at. In her post, Balazowich also noted another potential downside of guest photography. “I can’t tell you how many ‘first looks’ have inadvertently happened online before the wedding because a bridesmaid or groomsman has uploaded pictures to social media before the wedding and a bride and/or groom who were killing time by browsing Facebook saw their future intended before the ceremony,” Balazowich said.

‘Plugged-in’ weddings

Other couples opt for plugged-in weddings, encouraging guests to take and share photos to social media sites under a personalized hashtag. Proponents, like Jessica Myers of Genoa, say it preserves moments or alternate angles that would otherwise never be seen. “I printed the pictures from Facebook that

people took and shared or that people sent to my phone, which I loved,” said Myers, who married her husband, Jason, on Feb. 15. The couple asked guests to take photos and post them to Instagram using the hashtag #jnj myerswedding. Although signs were posted at their ceremony and reception sites, Jessica said they didn’t get much participation from guests. “Not many people seemed to know about Instagram,” Jessica said. “A lot of guests asked what it was. They said they would download the app and pictures, but no one really did. I should have maybe added something in my invite telling more about it. I’m sure I would have gotten a better turnout with pictures.” Even so, Jessica said she’s happy with her choice. “I am happy I did it because I can add all my pictures myself to it,” Jessica said. Ashley Klein of West Coast-based wedding planner TinLey Affair Instagrammed a friend’s wedding in her hometown of Columbus in February. “I started taking shots of everything and hashtagging #WinteringWedding,” Klein wrote in a blog post. “Then at the reception, other guests started hashtagging too! Just by word of mouth, my hashtag grew! I am so excited for Meghan to see a timeline in pictures from her guests behind the scenes. I’m thinking this Instagram gift book would make the perfect newlywed gift.” Balazowich and Paszczykowski stressed they are not opposed to guest photos. “I certainly and wholeheartedly believe a bride and groom should have as many beautiful images of their wedding day as possible,” Paszczykowski said. “I don’t mind at all when guests


By Sarah Ottney


Unplugged ceremonies trending as social media sharing grows


are taking photos with the bride and groom as they are mingling or at the reception, but please, please, please put your cameras down for the processional and also allow the professional photographers to capture the family and bridal party formals without interruptions, onlookers and 50 ‘camera heads’ behind me as I like to call them. Enjoy the entire process. Rejoice in their celebration with them. Relax! We got this!” O

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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide

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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide


To keep wedding costs down and add a unique touch to proceedings, many local couples embark on do it yourself (DIY) projects, such as decorations, flowers — and now even home brews and wine. With the advent of home-brewing kits such as Mr. Beer and home winemaking kits such as Vintner’s Reserve, making your own beer and wine has never been easier. Jackie Swyers said the decision to have homemade wine at her wedding was both for uniqueness and cost-effectiveness. “We first saw the idea to make our own wine online when we were pricing little gifts to place on the table for our guests,” Swyers said. “The price of making our own wine was similar to having a tiny candy bar with our name and wedding date on it. With the wine, we were able to put our own labels on with our names, wedding date and a little saying.” For Joe Lindsey, brewing beer was something he had been doing for years. His wife, Megan, is the one who originally got him started with it. This made brewing beer for their wedding a natural progression.

“My wife had bought me the brewing starting kit a few years earlier,” Lindsey said. “Brewing was something we did together and we both liked drinking beer, so making it for our wedding just kind of made sense.” According to the American Homebrewers Association, there are more than 1 million homebrewers in the United States. Homebrewing, however, has not always been a legal option. Lindsey and others have benefited from an amendment signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, which created an exemption from taxation for beer brewed at home for personal and family use. For Lauren Britt, making beer for her wedding fit well with the theme of the day. “We brew our own beer throughout the year and wanted to give our guests something we really loved and was homemade,” Britt said. “Nothing is better than homebrew to convey a sense of craftsmanship and personalization to a wedding.” Swyers said the winemaking process also offered additional social possibilities both short and long term. “We actually had a wine-corking party with the wedding party,” Swyers said. “This was something to get everyone involved and create a memory. We also asked our

family and closest friends to keep the bottle and help us celebrate our one-year anniversary by opening it that day and possibly getting together to do so.” For Deidre Leaders, this personalized and unique twist also offered a nice cost savings. “Planning a wedding can get really expensive,” Leaders said. “Making the wine ourselves was an area we could actually save some money while making something unique and, in some cases, equally as tasty. Some of the wedding costs just seemed to be for the birds.” In Lindsey’s case, brewing beer also added some additional fun by providing some friendly competition between the bride and groom. “I brewed a pale ale and my wife brewed a stout,” Lindsey said. “The guests seemed to have liked hers a bit better than mine even though I had more brewing experience than her. We had a little unspoken competition, but in the end, she won.” Britt believes homebrewing and winemaking is becoming more popular because it’s a creative outlet. “People are starting to use it as a method of personal expression,” Britt said. “Moving to the wedding scene is just a natural extension.” O


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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide

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Fall 2013 Bridal Guide

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AUG. 28SEPT. 4, 2013

What’s what, where and when in NW Ohio

Compiled by Matt Liasse Events are subject to change.


This intimate venue showcases acts from the A-list to the lesser known. 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. (734) 761-1451, (734) 761-1800 or www. ✯ Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo: Aug. 28, 8 p.m. ✯ The Appleseed Collective & The Red Sea Pedestrians: Aug. 29, 8 p.m. ✯ the Olllam: Sept. 3, 8 p.m.

Bar 145º

This venue features burgers, bands and bourbon, if its slogan is to be believed. $5 cover. 5304 Monroe St. (419) 593-0073 or

Barr’s Public House

“Our House, Your Pub” focuses on craft beer, hand-crafted specialty drinks and martinis, a well-rounded wine selection and an eclectic food menu. 3355 Briarfield Blvd., Maumee. (419) 866-8466. ✯ Pikasso: Aug. 29. ✯ Kaiden Chase: Aug. 31.

The Blarney Irish Pub

Catch local acts while taking in the pub’s modern Irish and American fare. 601 Monroe St. (419) 418-2339 or ✯ Chris Knopp: Aug. 29, 8:30 p.m.

Bronze Boar

Be sure to check out this Warehouse District tavern’s namesake, overhead near the entrance. 20 S. Huron St. (419) 244-2627 or www. ✯ Open mic: Thursdays and Mondays.

Sponsored by: ✯ Billy P.: Aug. 28. ✯ Steve Kennedy: Aug. 29. ✯ Last Born Sons: Aug. 30. ✯ Kids With Knives: Aug. 31. ✯ Joe Woods: Sept. 2.

Clazel Theatre

This venue has been rocking BGSU students (and others) for years. 127 N. Main St., Bowling Green. (419) 353-5000 or ✯ Club Kiss: Fridays and Saturdays. ✯ 365: Saturdays

The Distillery

The mic is open on Sundays, but paid entertainers rock out Fridays-Saturdays. 4311 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419) 382-1444 or www. ✯ Live Trivia with DJ Brandon: Tuesdays. ✯ Nathan Cogan: Wednesdays. ✯ DJ Rob Sample: Thursdays. ✯ Open Mic with Zack Ward: Sundays. ✯ Velvet Jones: Aug. 30-31.

DTE Energy Music Theatre

7774 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston, MI. ✯ Maroon 5, Kelly CLarkson: Aug. 28, 7 p.m. ✯ The Doobie Brothers: Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m. ✯ Big Sean: Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.

Doc Watson’s

Named in honor of the owners’ forefather, this bar and restaurant serves a variety of dishes and entertainment. 1515 S. Byrne Road. (419) 389-6003 or ✯ Rance Crane: Aug. 30, 10 p.m. ✯ Ben Barefoot and Frank May: Aug. 31, 10 p.m.

Dorr St. Café

Grab a reuben or some fish while bobbing your head to some tunes. Southwest corner of Dorr Street at Reynolds Road. (419) 531-4446 or ✯ Bobby Holloway: Aug. 30.

Evolution A club “for the mature crowd,” Evolution offers $5 martinis on Thursdays and the occasional live musical performance. 519 S. Reynolds Road. (419) 725-6277 or ✯ Feel Good Fridays: Fridays. ✯ Sensational Saturdays: Saturdays.

Frankie’s Inner-City Toledo’s venue for rock. Tickets vary between $5 and $14, unless otherwise noted. 308 Main St. (419) 693-5300 or ✯ Arrows, Dismantle, Badluck, Danny Hambarger: Aug. 28, 9 p.m. ✯ Endeavors, Sound The Ruin, The Brooklyn Enigma, Bad Luck: Aug. 29, 7 p.m. ✯ Broken Glass: Aug. 30, 10 p.m. ✯ My Special Agent, The Figs Posey, The Lonely Friends: Aug. 30, 9 p.m. ✯ Citizen, Hostage Calm, Pity Sex, React, Freedom: Aug. 31, 6 p.m. ✯ American Head Charge, Psychostick, Demon Shifter, Greenbelt Parkway: Sept. 3, 7 p.m.

French Quarter J. Patrick’s Pub Live entertainment after 9:30 p.m. FridaysSaturdays. Holiday Inn French Quarter, 10630 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg. (419) 874-3111 or ✯ Hating Hollywood: Aug. 30-31.

H Lounge Hollywood Casino Toledo offers musical distractions from all the lights, noise and jackpots. 777 Hollywood Blvd. (419) 661-5200 or www. ✯ DJ Rob Sample: Aug. 30, 9 p.m. ✯ Jedi Mind Trip: Aug. 31, 9 p.m.


Every day until 11 a.m. 3 Toledo locations to serve you!

6945 W. Central Ave. Toledo, OH

26555 Dixie Hwy. Perrysburg, OH

@ CharliesRestaurants antss @ charliestoledo

12407 Airport Hwy. Swanton, OH

Howard’s Club H

Bowling Green comes alive at this venue for rock and more. Doors typically open at 9, with the show starting an hour later. 210 N. Main St., Bowling Green. (419) 352-3195 or www. ✯ The Bricks: Aug. 31.

Kerrytown Concert House

This venue focuses on classical, jazz and opera artists and music. 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor, Mich. $5-$30, unless noted. (734) 769-2999 or

Mainstreet Bar and Grill

Ronn Daniels performs weekly at this pub. 8-11 p.m. Thursdays, 141 Main St. (419) 697-6297 or ✯ Toledo Music Festival: End of Summer Blowout: Aug. 31, 1 p.m.


This “slice of the Big Apple” in the Glass City provides entertainment most weekends. 1516 Adams St. (419) 243-6675 or www. ✯ Open mic: 9 p.m. Mondays.

MGM Grand Detroit

Live music rings out over the slots and croupiers on the weekends in the INT ICE lounge. 1777 Third St., Detroit. (877) 888-2121 or ✯ Double Vision Fridays: Fridays. ✯ Volume Saturdays: Saturdays.





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Motor City Casino/Hotel

This casino’s Sound Board offers big names, big sounds and a big experience. 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Guests must be 21 or older. (866) 782-9622 or The casino’s Chromatics Lounge also features live performances. Chromatics ✯ Rhythm Kings: Aug. 28, 7 p.m. ✯ Cancel Monkeys: Aug 29, 7 p.m. ✯ Hidden Agenda: Aug. 30, 5:15 p.m. ✯ Dal Bouey: Aug. 30, 10 p.m. ✯ Brena: Aug. 31, 5:15 p.m. ✯ Serieux: Aug. 31, 10 p.m. ✯ Randy Brock Group: Sept. 1, 3:30 p.m. ✯ Cancel Mondays: Sept. 2, 7 p.m. ✯ Fusion: Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m. Radio Bar ✯ Paul Martindale: Aug. 28, 4 p.m. ✯ Surab Deb: Aug. 28, 4 p.m. ✯ Paul Martindale: Aug. 29, 4 p.m. ✯ Kim James: Aug. 29, 8 p.m. ✯ Paul Martindale: Aug. 30, 2 p.m. ✯ Linda Lexy: Aug. 30, 6 p.m. ✯ Kim James: Aug. 30, 10 p.m. ✯ Mandy: Aug. 31, 2 p.m. ✯ Linda Lexy: Aug. 31, 6 p.m. ✯ DJ Short Stop: Aug. 31, 10 p.m.

Oarhouse Bar & Grill

If one gets tired of spiking the volleyball, throwing some ringers or tossing the cornbags, perhaps some entertainment will fit the bill? Plenty of dock space for boaters, too. 5044 Suder Ave. (419) 671-6256 or ✯ Sweet Tea Band: Aug. 30, 9 p.m.

One2 Lounge at Treo



Levis Commons Perrysburg, OH


BET’s Comic View, MTV’s The Jenny McCarthy Show

MTV, Showtime

Aug. 29-Sept. 1

Sept. 5-8


Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Jay Leno

Sept. 16 - 17



Live music starts at 7:30 p.m. 5703 Main St., Sylvania. (419) 882-2266 or ✯ Americanos: Aug. 30. ✯ Old State Line: Aug. 31.

Ottawa Tavern

Casual meals and bingo and trivia nights with weekend entertainment. 1815 Adams St. (419) 725-5483 or ✯ Smartypants Trivia: Toledo’s Favorite Pub Quiz: 9 p.m., Wednesdays. ✯ Desert Noises, Miracle Vitamins, Nathan Roberts & The New Birds: Aug. 30, 10 p.m.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

What began as an antique store in Chicago

Joe Woods Band


Right Across from Fifth Third Field

Mon-Fri 4-7 pm


James A. Molnar, TFP film editor:

”Featuring a tour de force, Oscarbuzzing performance by Cate Blanchett, Woody Allen’s latest movie is all about great dialogue and acting. Blanchett plays the ex-wife of a Bernie Madoff-type Ponzi schemer. She is an egotistic socialite, but now without money or social life. She moves across the country to live with her sister and the interaction between the two is hostile and hilarious at times. Allen makes good use of flashbacks and music to intermingle the past and present to tell his story, which audiences will enjoy.” Watch James discuss movies on “WNWO Today” around 5:50 a.m. on Fridays. Also, listen to James discuss movies on “Eye on Your Weekend” on 1370 WSPD every Friday at 6 p.m. For more:

turned into a string of more than 200 eateries nationwide, including Toledo. All of the shops feature live music. 4038 Talmadge Road. (419) 725-5037 or ✯ Jaime Mills: Noon-2 p.m. Fridays.


Anyone curious about this charcuterie can check out the menu while also sampling some music Tuesdays through Saturdays. 219 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. (419) 873-6224 or ✯ Jason Quick: Aug. 31, 9 p.m.


Nouveau cuisine gets a helping of music Thursdays through Saturdays. 104 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. (419) 873-8360 or www. ✯ Eddie Molina: Aug. 29.


DayS Until St. Patrick’S Day!

601 Monroe St. HaPPy HOUr live Entertainment

‘Blue Jasmine’


Come to The Blarney ... Go From There!

Friday, aug. 30th

STAR @ the movies

28 South Saint Clair DOWNTOWN TOLEDO

NOW OPEN Party on the Patio


“Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.” — Steve Martin

✯ Meaghan Roberts: Aug. 30. ✯ Don Coats: Aug. 31.

Trotters Tavern

5131 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419) 381-2079. ✯ Jeff McDonald’s Big Band All Stars: 8-10:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

The Village Idiot

Tunes combined with pizza and booze, some would say it’s a perfect combination. 309 Conant St., Maumee. (419) 893-7281 or www. ✯ Old West End Records: 8 p.m. Wednesdays. ✯ Bob Rex Trio: 6 p.m. Sundays. ✯ Frankie May and friends: 10 p.m. Mondays. ✯ John Barile & Bobby May: 8 p.m. Tuesdays. ✯ Polka Floyd: Aug. 30.

Webber’s Waterfront Restaurant


Fridays | 6 p.m.

The best way to plan Your Weekend, Toledo Western Premier Grand Plaza Hotel’s Aqua Lounge, 444 N. Summit St. $5-$15. (419) 241141 or ✯ The Mardi Gras Party featuring Delfeayo Marsalis: Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Ye Olde Durty Bird

Lunch at Levis Square concert series


This two-man band (consisting of Dave Rybaczewski and Walter Guy) performs Beatles songs acoustically. ✯ Table Forty4, 610 Monroe St., Toledo. Aug. 29, 8-11 p.m. ✯ River Café & Marina, 6215 Edgewater Dr., Erie, Michigan. Aug. 30, 7:30-10:30 p.m.

Jazz on the Maumee

The Art Tatum Jazz Society will provide smooth, cool “Twilight Jazz” along the river, appetizers included. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Best

Say Goodbye to NBC?

Eye on Your Weekend

This Point Place eatery hosts weekly entertainment on its patio with a river view. 3 p.m. Sundays, 6339 Edgewater Dr. (734) 723-7411 or ✯ Boudreaux’s Back Porch Band, Bobby May, John Barile: Sept. 1. A full bar featuring frozen drinks and multiple happy hours (4-7) on weekdays, plus salads, soups and sandwiches, accompany live entertainment four nights a week. 2 S. St. Clair St. (419) 243-2473 or ✯ Open mic: 7 p.m. Tuesdays. ✯ Jeff Stewart: Aug. 28, 5-7, 9 p.m. ✯ Andrew Ellis: Aug. 29, 5-7 p.m. ✯ Steve Kennedy: Aug. 29, 9 p.m. ✯ Ronn Daniels: Aug. 30, 5-7, 9 p.m. ✯ John Barile: Aug. 31, 5-7, 9 p.m. ✯ Whitty & Murphy: Sept. 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Downtown Toledo Improvement District conspires to set lunch to music. Noon-1:30 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 29. Levis Square, North St. Clair Street and Madison Avenue. (419) 249-5494. ✯ David Browning: Aug. 29.

Music at the Market

Weekly concerts will pierce the summer heat. 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 29, Commodore Square Park, 140 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg; Judy Beck Auditorium (same address), if raining. (419) 324-4758 or ✯ Nine Lives: Aug. 29.

Jazz in the Garden

Take in some swing and smooth tunes among the swaying flowers. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, July 11-Sept. 12, Toledo Botanical Garden, 5403 Elmer Drive. $6-$8; $48-$64 season pass. (419) 536-5566 or ✯ Josh Silver: Aug. 29. ✯ If you would like your event in The Pulse, contact Matt at

Over the next few weeks, you are sure to hear about how WNWO is forcing Buckeye Cable to increase your cable bill. Truth be told, your cable bill increases because of the lavish amounts Buckeye Cable spends for cable networks that few people watch. The majority of your cable money leaves Toledo for companies that have no vested interest in our community. WNWO wants to be treated fairly. We want to continue providing local jobs, paying local taxes, delivering local news and severe weather warnings, while involving ourselves with community based groups, charities and events.

Tell Buckeye you want to keep your NBC. Call 419-724-9802 and let your voice be heard.

#thisismeToledo 09.13.13

Show Us Who You Are... Take a Sans Makeup Selfie and Share It On Your Favorite Social Media Site by using...

Tickets are on Sale for $20 with 100% of the Proceeds benefiting Girls On The Run of NW Ohio. Please visit or call 419.318.9211


“No one will laugh at how great things are for somebody.” — Harold Ramis

Support Your LocaL reStaurantS

“We are your neighbors, friends and family. Our kids play together.We listen when you are sad, mad and happy — and when you are hungry, we feed you and your family the food that we made with our own two hands.When you are thirsty, we are the first to sit and share a pint and laugh along with you or just offer company. And at the end of the day, we watch the same sunset from the same view.We are local.” – Tony Bilancini, Owner of Swig Restaurant

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6945 W. Central Ave ~ 5228 ~ 26555 N. Dixie, Perrysburg

5228 Monroe Street ~ Spring Meadows ~ 26555 N. Dixie,

Loma Linda Celebrating 57 years.

“Everyone knew the funny writers were the most serious sort.” — Paula McLain

Giant wolf, long ride By Matt Liasse Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

The book Toledoan Robert C. Wahl wrote 40 years ago is finally published. “Ride the Giant Wolf ” was published by BearManor Fiction, after being rejected “probably 50 times.” “I ran around the house screaming and yelling,” Wahl said. “I got so discouraged, I just put it away. Just like every other writer, I got nothing but rejections, one right after the other.” He found BearManor Fiction through his brother, Jan, who has written 125 children’s books. “My brother read it [and] always encouraged me to write,” Wahl said. “I sent it to them without any preconceived ideas at all. I didn’t hear back from them for months. I finally emailed the guy that I sent it to and I just said, ‘what’s going on? maybe you want to just send the book back to me.’ He said, ‘no, we’re going to publish it.’” His book is a fictionalized story of a young Pawnee warrior whose tribe faces famine and drought. The story takes place during the introduction of the horse to the North American continent. The idea for the book began with a conversation with his grandfather, who told Wahl he was part Native American. “I had no idea,” Wahl said. “That’s when the interest grew. I decided to write a book about the


Toledoan works 40 years to get book published.

first meeting between Indian and white man but the book wrote itself. I never got to that point.” The book tells of a boy’s journey into manhood. Wahl said he enjoys work like Kenneth Roberts’ “Northwest Passage” and J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” He wrote the book while he was a student at the University of Toledo. He said the version from 40 years ago was “almost the same as the one being published.” It had the same story but the language and style of writing were different. He also did a little more research. Wahl suffered a blood clot in his stomach in 2002. It was then that he was motivated to pursue getting “Ride the Giant Wolf ” published again. “[I] nearly died. While I was sitting in my hospital bed, I said, “I don’t want my life to end right now,’” Wahl said. “When I got out of the hospital, I still had like two weeks before I went back to work and so I spent the two weeks writing.” Wahl said he got started right away. “If you think about something long enough, you’re probably going to talk yourself out of it,” Wahl said. “I jumped in with both feet.” He was originally going to wait for retirement to bring the story “out of the mothballs,” he said. Wahl also published two children’s books and has already started writing his next novel. “Ride the Giant Wolf ” is available on Amazon in paperback for $17.96 and Kindle for $9.95. O

Robert C. Wahl started his novel ‘Ride the Giant Wolf’ 40 years ago. PHOTO COURTESY ROBERT WAHL





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“Comedy is tragedy standing on its head with its pants down.” — Chris Crutcher

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Rod Brant thinks nothing could be finer than dining in Toledo. “Whenever you go to a location, whether it’s Toledo or Cincinnati, there’s a certain flavor or a certain flair that you get just from their local ambience,” Brant said. “I think that there’s definitely not only a local flavor to Toledo but lots of great places to eat, some on the expensive end and some on the low end.” With his new initiative, Eat Local Toledo, he provides independent restaurateurs in the area a “unified Brant method of conveying the value they offer,” he said. The initiative is a way to let patrons know which restaurants are independently owned and operated. “Whenever I travel, I always want to eat at the local restaurants,” Brant said. “Even when I was traveling with my kid’s soccer team, I would go into a city like Cincinnati or Chicago, I’d always want to eat at a local restaurant because frankly, the chains are pretty boring and I really want to get a flavor of the community that I was in.” Brant said the project benefits Toledo, ensuring money isn’t distributed on a national scale. “I’m a big free market guy; I don’t think the government should regulate who can do what and buy what from where,” Brant said. “When you spend $100 at a local restaurant, about $70 is circulated back to the local economy. When you spend $100 at a chain restaurant, about $30 stays here. It

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really does a great service to the local community for us to spend our money locally with local independents. We have a ton of restaurants here that people may not know are locally owned.” Ten restaurants are included in the project, including Sidelines, the sports eatery and pub. Eric Sitter, who owns Sidelines with two others, joined the group in response to chains having an advantage in marketing. He said Eat Local Toledo helps local families and the local economy. Eating at chains means profits go elsewhere. Sidelines has four locations, most recently on Holland Road in Maumee. Others include two Toledo locations and one in Michigan. Eat Local Toledo was formed less than three months ago after another local restaurant owner approached Brant. Together, they talked about national chains and came up with ideas to differentiate local eateries from them. Members of Eat Local Toledo will work together on marketing that will include meal discounts. Each restaurant included will be given materials so customers will know about their connection with Eat Local Toledo. Brant will also be distributing the “Little Black Book of Toledo,” a guide to local restaurants in the area. It will be given to local attractions and hotels for visitors and local residents. Brant said any restaurant in the area can join his initiative. Visit for more information. There are some requirements, including local ownership and owning fewer than six restaurants in the area. O — Matt Liasse

“Comedy is a distortion of what is happening, and there will always be something happening.” — Steve Martin


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“One does not have a sense of humor. It has you.” — Larry Gelbart

Casting Batman B A publication of Toledo Free Press, LLC, Vol.4, No.35 Established 2010. Thomas F. Pounds, President/Publisher Michael S. Miller, Editor in Chief EDITORIAL

James A. Molnar, Design Editor Sarah Ottney, Managing Editor Jeff McGinnis, Pop Culture Editor ADMINISTRATION

Pam Burson, Business Manager CONTRIBUTORS Jim Beard • Amy Campbell • John Dorsey Matt Feher • Dustin Hostetler • Stacy Jurich Vicki L. Kroll • lilD • Martini • Rachel Richardson

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Toledo Free Press Star is published every Wednesday by Toledo Free Press, LLC, 605 Monroe St., Toledo, OH 43604 • (419) 241-1700 Fax: (419) 241-8828 Subscription rate: $100 /year. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner without permission is strictly prohibited. Copyright 2013 with all rights reserved. Publication of ads does not imply endorsement of goods or services.

en Affleck has been cast as Batman in the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel. That’s the one and only time you’ll see the star’s name in this article because, when you get right down to it, the weight and merit of his abilities doesn’t really matter — it’s all about the character. Despite the Internet cracking in half once again upon hearing the news, the real quesJim tion should be “Why would Warner Bros. cast a ‘name’ in the role?” There’s no guarantee of success in casting a recognizable star in a superhero role, and especially not with Batman. Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery of the 1940s serials were not household names, and Adam West of the infamous 1960s TV series was a virtual unknown before donning the cape and cowl. It wasn’t until 1989’s big-budget bat-feature film that Warner decided a “name” was needed, and so the already-established Michael Keaton climbed into the Batmobile and a morass of controversy. Once Keaton finished his two turns in the mask, more “names” followed, namely Val Kilmer and George Clooney, who both brought little to the role, despite their pedigrees. Was it the almost-universal panning of Clooney’s 1997 “Batman and Robin” that convinced the studio that a “name” wasn’t needed the next time out? Regardless, it took them eight years to figure it out. Christian Bale, arguably the most successful Batman of all, while not exactly a neophyte at the time of 2005’s “Batman Begins” was certainly not cruising on star-power; yet his bat-trilogy has raked in billions of dollars. Let’s face facts here: When you add in the fact that the ’60s TV series was both a worldwide hit and a fiery fad, you must admit that the character trumps the man in the tights more often that not. There’s a preconceived notion of Batman that we all carry around in our mind’s eye — whether or not we’re comic book fans — and when a star is shoehorned into the role — however good their intentions — what you get is not Batman, but “fill-in-the-blank as Batman.” That’s a gamble for a studio if they want even the slightest whiff of artistry wafting about their cash cows, because when the cow-chips are down, the man -on the street wants the Caped Crusader, not a well-known actor who professes to “love” the medium.



And pity poor Henry Cavill here, the still-somewhat unknown Superman of “Man of Steel.” Following in the footsteps of fellow newbies Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh, he probably thought he had a pretty good thing going after the box office numbers came in. Now he’s got to go up against a “name” in the sequel to his own film and carry his weight while the audience focuses on his popular co-star … and, Great Rao! He’s Superman! Who’d blame him if he turned around and handed in his cape with a mumble of “This isn’t what I signed up for” on his lips? So, after all that, why’s Warner dead set on pouring

What’s in a name?

a “name” into the role this time around? Good question, but it may have something to do with the failure of Ryan Reynolds’ expensive glow-in-the-dark Green Lantern turkey and their continued nervousness over superhero films in the face of Marvel’s “cando-no-wrong” string of movie hits. Sure, the suits at Warner Brothers may be taking a cue from Robert Downey Jr.’s casting as Iron Man, but to be real about it, Iron Man’s no Batman — a star in Tony Stark’s tin can was a definite plus. But, as comic fans well know, Batman’s bigger than starpower, and Superman’s no slouch, either — their fame and universal appeal cannot be diminished by mere casting couches and uninspired boardroom decisions. Beyond all the hype and controversy, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, Warner could hire an unemployed chiropractor to play the Dark Knight Detective — the mask hides all sins! — and the world would still line up to see the hero they love … no “names” need apply. O


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Toledo Free Press STAR - August 28, 2013  

The cover for this edition features Keith Burgman, who is launching a new stand-up comedy series (see page 3). HERE COMES THE GUIDE: Inside...

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