Category Archives: Music

Last Summer on Earth – Barenaked Ladies, Guster and Ben Folds Five

Scott's not happy about a 9 hour roundtrip roadtrip

Scott’s not happy about a 9-hour roundtrip roadtrip

The last time I put myself through a 9-hour roadtrip for a concert was my sophomore year of college – over 10 years ago. That is, until this past Saturday when Scott and I drove to Cincinnati and back to see Guster, Ben Folds Five, and Barenaked Ladies.

It was around 3am on Sunday morning when we realized we’re getting too old to load up on coffee and power through the drive. However, if anyone was worth it, it was this match-up.

Last Summer on Earth 2013 tour: Guster, Ben Folds Five, Barenaked Ladies

Logo from LastSummerOnEarth.com

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, BNL brought together two of my favorite bands for the awesome 90s rock trifecta that is the 2013 Last Summer on Earth tour.

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Fun in the Sun Giveaway: Live Nation Summer Concerts

The view of downtown Cleveland from Ohio City's Cleveland Hostel

The view from Ohio City’s Cleveland Hostel on a summer afternoon

As I was running around Cleveland at Saturday’s RTA Scavenger Hunt, I realized somewhere between Gallucci’s and the Cleveland Hostel that it was the first time this season I had really enjoyed a day outside.

Given that summer officially starts on Friday at 1:04 am, I’m overdue to get some new shorts and bust out the sunscreen. While I’m not the lounge-by-the-pool, sunbathing type, I’m definitely excited to soak up the rays in other ways.

In fact I’m so excited that I’m hosting 3 giveaways over the next month featuring some of my favorite outdoor summer activities.

First up: Live Nation Summer Concerts!

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Tri-C JazzFest Review: Lionel Loueke Trio at MOCA Cleveland

MOCA Cleveland

Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art hosted Tri-C JazzFest’s Lionel Loueke concert

I have a not-so-secret obsession when it comes to organizing things. I feel bad sometimes for Scott who has to put up with my unquenchable urge for lists, schedules and Google Docs (though he does admit he’d be lost without them).

The funny thing is that I wasn’t always like this. My parents lovingly (and sometimes worriedly) called me Space Cadet for the first 2 decades of my life.

But then a switch flipped after college and lists were how I got myself through the day. I like things orderly and prioritized – and I sometimes fear a tiny part of me would fall apart if I had to go cold turkey without my planner.

Lionel Loueke at Tri-C JazzFest

Lionel Loueke at Tri-C JazzFest

There is one part of me, though, that prefers chaos over order – and that’s when I’m listening to music. When things aren’t fitting in their little square checkboxes and I need to quiet my brain, my favorite music to turn to is jazz.

With all its frenetic energy and sometimes maddening cacophony, I can focus just on unpacking all the sounds and find some temporary solace.

That’s why – after a particularly stressful week – I was happy to attend Tri-C JazzFest’s Lionel Loueke Trio concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art last Thursday.

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Tri-C JazzFest Giveaway: Lionel Loueke Trio at MOCA

Tri-C JazzFest

Cleveland’s Tri-C JazzFest, April 19-27, 2013

In January, I blogged about coming up with my Cleveland “bucket list” for the year – new-to-me places or events I’ve wanted to, but haven’t yet explored.

I’m glad to be able to cross one off my list in a couple weeks: the Tri-C Jazz Festival.

What started in 1980 as a weekend event, has transformed into 10 days of jazzing up Cleveland.

Staying true to its roots, Tri-C JazzFest brings world-class, awarding-winning Jazz musicians to Cleveland while fostering the history and nurturing the future of Jazz.

What this means for you and me is a line-up of funky, fantastic, and unforgettable concerts throughout downtown and the Cleveland neighborhoods.

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Spring into Upcoming Events in Cleveland

Springtime in Cleveland

Even our gnome is ready for Spring!

As we March into Spring, eager to trade in those winter coats for short sleeves, Cleveland is full of upcoming events to help shake the winter blahs.

Here are a few I’m looking forward to. Be sure to leave a comment with your picks!

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Brave the Cold at Cleveland’s Brite Winter Festival, Feb. 16

Brite Winter Music and Arts Festival, Cleveland Feb. 16, 2013

Is it ever going to stop snowing? Who cares! Because Brite Winter is back.

You can read my review of the 2011 Brite Winter Fest here, but in short this annual community-organized music and arts festival is one of the best reasons to brave snow, sleet and 10 degree weather in Cleveland.

After the unprecedented success of last year’s 10,000+ attendees, Brite Winter returns to Ohio City next Saturday, February 16.

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Guster’s Acoustic Tour Comes to Elyria’s Stocker Arts Center

Guster at Lorain County Community College's Stocker Arts Center in Elyria

Guster performs at LCCC’s Stocker Arts Center in Elyria (photos from HOB Cleveland’s Twitter feed)

It was early August 2004. As I drove through my hometown in Virginia one last time, I was overwhelmed with mixed emotions.

Warm sunlight was streaming in through the sunroof. I was moving back to Philly to start my first “real” job. Part of me was ecstatic.

But I was wistful. I was leaving home for the last time. This was different than going back to college for the semester. There were no mid-term breaks. No turning back.

I was listening to the one album that had been a big part of my senior year – Keep It Together by Guster.

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Events Around Cleveland: Jump Back Two Spaces Edition

Bummed that Jump Back Ball is still over a month away? Unable to go this year?

Fortunately, there are a few things going on in Cleveland between now and February 23 to wet your Jump Back whistle.

Get a Clue! Trivia Night

Jump Back Ball is hosted each year by PlayhouseSquare Partners, the theatre’s young professionals group.

However, Partners doesn’t stop there.  From our annual OSU tailgate to theatre outings, dine-arounds and putt-putt in the Palace, we’re busy year-round with events for Cleveland’s under-40 and young-at-heart crowd.

Our next event is Thursday, Jan. 17: the first annual Get a Clue! Trivia Night at Black Dog Kitchen & Bar in downtown Cleveland.

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12 Days of Cleveland – Thankful for Too Much To Do This Holiday Season

This Thanksgiving, there were many things to be thankful for. I’m lucky to have a pretty swell husband (understatement), fantastic parents and sister, friends and even in-laws (congrats Laura and Max on your engagement!). From work to home and in between, there’s not much to complain about.

And even better, I get to spend my time in Cleveland. Whether it’s Downtown, east, west or the suburbs – there’s always something to do. In fact, if I had one complaint it’s that there’s sometimes too much to choose from.

However, I consider that a very lucky problem to have. Clevelanders are blessed with a city that not just offers us a lot of unique entertainment, food, art and shopping experiences, but more importantly is small enough that most of it is accessible.

As we head into the holiday season, Cleveland is bustling with even more activity. In honor of one of my favorite carols, here are my “12 Days of Cleveland” Picks.

Holiday shopping events make it easier to take the pledge to shop local

Day 1. Shop Local Showcase: On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, get your holiday shopping done early with Room Service’s Made in the 216 Holiday Shoppe (today-12/31), Bazaar Bizarre Cleveland’s eastside show (today and Saturday) and Downtown Cleveland’s Winterfest (Saturday).

And if you’re a procrastinator like me, Yelp Cleveland’s Shop Local Pledge has a full list of shopping events throughout December like Bazaar Bizarre’s huge westside show (12/8-12/9) and Screw Factory’s Last Minute Market (12/15).

Day 2. Circle in the City: One of the things on my Cleveland to-see list is the inside of the Cleveland Trust Rotunda.  Every time I walk by it, I stare longingly wanting to get a glimpse of the murals and stunning stained-glass dome I’ve only seen in pictures. Thanks to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and University Circle, my holiday wish has been granted with Circle in the City!

Every Wednesday between now and Dec. 12, the Ameritrust Rotunda will open from 11:30am-1pm for free cultural events sponsored by University Circle institutions. A food truck or two will be outside where you can grab lunch.

On my day off this past Wednesday, I stopped in for the first Circle in the City: a performance by Robert Cassidy, Department of Music faculty member and pianist for the Almeda Trio, The Music Settlement’s professional ensemble in residence. It was a harmonious complement to the Rotunda’s artwork and architecture whose beauty surpassed the photographs.

Circle in the City offers up beautiful sounds for the holiday as well as a rare opportunity to see the inside of the Cleveland Trust Rotunda

Day 3. Tinsel Town: If you have children, gather your family together to celebrate the holidays at PlayhouseSquare’s Tinsel Town Party (12/1). From 12-2 pm, the beautifully decorated Palace Theatre lobby will host holiday crafts, cookie decorating and of course Santa! Snacks and hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles will also be available. All proceeds benefit community engagement and education programs at PlayhouseSquare (Family Four Pack: $40; Adult: $8; Child: $14; half-price discounts for Pals Members).

Day 4. Holiday CircleFest: Ring in December at the Holiday CircleFest (12/2). From 1-5:30pm, spend your day in University Circle experiencing more than a dozen of Cleveland’s cultural treasures free of charge. Meanwhile, enjoy live music, craft making, historic displays of holiday toys, storytelling, a singing Santa, live reindeer, the city’s best gingerbread house competition, and more.

Wade Oval will also be busy with free horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carving demos, and ice-skating at the Oval’s Rink. At 5:30, the celebration concludes with The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Winter Lights Lantern Procession.

A Cleveland holiday tradition returns to PlayhouseSquare with Cleveland Orchestra and Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker (11/29-12/2)

Day 5. The Nutcracker on Stage and Screen: The incomparable pairing of the Joffrey Ballet and the Cleveland Orchestra returns to PlayhouseSquare with their annual run of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (11/29-12/2). Audiences will delight in the breathtaking costumes, magical music and spectacular dancing.

Although nothing compares to a live performance, if you can’t make it to the Cleveland production, Fathom Events will present the Russian Imperial Mariinsky Theatre’s The Nutcracker (12/3) at ten local movie theatres. Performances are at 2 and 7:30pm. Find your closest location here.

Day 6. Warehouse District Holiday Tour: Each December, hundreds of people descend onto Warehouse District for their annual Neighborhood Holiday Tour. Now in its 13th year, the popular tour (12/5) features a behind the scenes look at the Warehouse District’s beautiful residential and office buildings as well as a feast from the neighborhood’s restaurants.

This year’s tour includes stops at the Bridgeview Apartments Atrium, 425 Lakeside, the Bradley Building, the Cloak Factory, Old Stone Church, the offices of Rieth, Antonelli & Raj, plus a construction tour of the Flats East Bank Project.

Guests will then enjoy holiday treats from Barley House, Bar Louie, The Blind Pig, Blue Point Grille, Bob Golic’s Sports Bar & Grille, BRGR 9, Constantino’s Market, Charkha Exotic Indian Cuisine, Gillespie’s Map Room, Johnny’s Downtown, John Q’s Steakhouse and Taza Lebanese Grill. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Historic Warehouse District Development Corporation.

A special Santaland Diaries YP Night on 12/6 features a pre-show reception and tickets to the performance

Day 7. Santaland Diaries: PlayhouseSquare is serving up some not-so-family-friendly holiday fare when David Sedaris’ classic Santaland Diaries comes to the E14th St Theatre (11/28-12/22). Produced by Cleveland Public Theatre, Santaland Diaries recounts the hilarious (and sometimes horrible) stories of an out of work actor who takes a job as Crumpet, the Macy’s Christmas elf.

And on 12/6, join me at a special YP Night at Santaland Diaries. $30 gets you a ticket to the performance and unlimited drinks and light appetizers at a pre-show reception hosted by PlayhouseSquare Partners.

Day 8. Howard Hanna’s Chow Chow: If you’re downtown on 12/7 and  looking for a good deal on lunch, stop by Howard Hanna’s Chow Chow Fundraiser. From 11am-2pm, enjoy food from Blue Point Grill, Brennan’s Catering, John Q’s Steakhouse, Mr. Chicken and Marigold Catering for only $10. Proceeds from the event’s tickets, silent auction, and bake sale will go to the Children’s Free Care Fund which supports local Children’s hospitals including UH Rainbow Babies, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, MetroHealth and Akron Children’s Hospital.

Work off those holiday goodies at the Jingle Bell Run (12/8)

Day 9. Jingle Bell Run: Lace up your running shoes, pull on your santa hat or reindeer antlers and help raise money for the Arthritis Foundation with the Cleveland Jingle Bell Run/Walk (12/8). Jingle Bell teams and solo runners are raising money and participating in the 5K which kicks off at 9am in Legacy Village.  Register to run/walk here or make a donation.

Day 10. Christmas Carols Old and New: While one of Northeast Ohio’s favorite holiday traditions returns to the Hanna Theatre with Great Lakes Theater’s A Christmas Carol, the Cleveland Play House is helming a brand new carol at the Allen. Both shows run 11/30-12/23.

Great Lakes’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol takes place in London on Christmas Eve as the Cleaveland family sits down for their annual reading of the story. Children and adults will enjoy a fresh take on Scrooge’s tale as they see it unfold through the imagination of the family’s youngest son.

Down the street at the Allen Theatre, Cleveland Play House presents the world premiere A Carol for Cleveland. Written by local playwright Eric Coble and author Les Roberts, A Carol for Cleveland is a love-letter to the city and the determination and spirit that make it unique. With my love of Les Roberts and after last year’s stunning The Game’s Afoot, you know that A Carol for Cleveland is top of my list for holiday shows.

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Who cares at Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus Dinner Party! (12/20)

Day 11. Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus: It doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice this year, Emerging Chefs has a party for every boy and girl (well, man and woman since you should find a babysitter for this holiday dinner).

At Naughty Claus (12/20), Chef Adam Lambert will make the holidays merry, bright and delicious with festive cuisine at Cleveland’s Speakeasy.

From 8pm to midnight, the NY Times-featured prohibition-era-themed lounge will play host to a 5-course meal paired with libations. If you’re not already in a holiday mood, creative courses like Snow Globe Ornaments (with oyster, Douglas fir, juniper and tonic), XXX-Mas Cookies, truffle Snowballs, Who Ham for One and Kosher Khristmas will get you in one. Plus everyone will leave with a bit of “coal” for their stockings. If only for one night, it’ll be good to be bad.

Day 12. Ale, Cookies and Ugly Sweater Party: The Cleveland Foodbank’s YP Pantry hosts its first annual Ale & Cookies party for Cleveland young professionals.  Join them at Bier Markt-Bar Cento on Dec. 17, 6-9pm for some Christmas Ale and holiday cookies while helping the hungry. 15% of the group’s bar bills will go directly to the Cleveland Foodbank and donations of canned goods are always welcome. Best ugly holiday sweater wins a prize!

This list is only the tip of the gingerbread house when it comes to holiday fun in Cleveland. Share your picks in the comments below!

Disclosure: In exchange for previewing and reviewing Emerging Chefs’ Naughty Claus, I was offered one ticket to the event. I am also on the board of PlayhouseSquare Partners and the YP Pantry which are hosting Tinsel Town, the Santaland Diaries YP Night and Ale and Cookies.

MIX: Masquerade Celebrates Museum of Art's New Atrium

Earlier in October Cleveland young professionals got a new monthly event to add to their calendars: Cleveland Museum of Art’s MIX First Fridays.

And after their first party showcased the Half the air balloon exhibit, November’s MIX turns its attention to the opening of the Museum’s stunning new atrium.

The Ames Family Atrium, along with the new Museum Store and Chef Doug Katz’s Provenance Restaurant and Café, are the latest additions to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s building expansion.

Museum guests have gotten a sneak peek at the space since it partially opened to the public in August. And this Sunday, Oct. 28 the whopping 39,000-square-foot piazza officially opens!

It’ll be the largest free public space in Northeast Ohio, bridging the original 1916 and 1971 buildings and new east and west wings with a beautiful curved glass roof.

Over 40 groups will come together on Sunday from 11am to 4pm to showcase Cleveland’s different cultures and celebrate with a day of music, dancing, art-making and other family-friendly activities.

And on Friday, Nov. 2 the Atrium will host its first public evening event at
MIX: Masquerade.

Now, in my opinion, that photo of the Atrium is reason enough to get tickets, but MIX: Masquerade has a few more tricks up its sleeve in case you need convincing.

For those who don’t get their fill of Halloween festivities earlier in the week, the Nov. 2 party will feature mysteries and ghost stories throughout the galleries from 5-7pm.

Then at 7pm, slip on a mask if you’re so inclined to get into the Masquerade spirit, as 2 DJs and an orchestra take over the Atrium.

There’s so much going on, the Museum is extending its hours until 11pm that night.

Tickets are $7 for members, $14 for non-members (yet another reason to join). Call 216.421.7350 or visit clevelandart.org/mix for tickets. Reservations are strongly suggested.

Sip a cocktail, explore the collection, dance the night away and enjoy the view!

Disclosure: I was invited to blog about MIX in exchange for attending. As always though, the choice of which events I share is my own.