Category Archives: Parades and Festivals

The 39th Cleveland International Film Festival: My Kind of March Madness

CIFF Image

For sports fans, March Madness means another thrilling college hoops tournament. But for fans of Cleveland and film, March brings its own brand of excitement: the annual arrival of the Cleveland International Film Festival.

As much as I love Saint Patrick’s Day, CIFF is tops on my March must-do list.

The festival opens tonight with an Opening Gala that includes a screening of I’ll See You In My Dreams featuring Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott, Rhea Perlman and many other amazing actors. It’s a star-filled way to celebrate the festival and cinema.

Over the course of the 39th festival, which runs through March 29, 190+ feature films and 220+ short films from 60 countries will be screened.

Although the festival’s main hub is at Tower City, films will be screened all over the area. A few of the 11 neighborhood screening locations include Chagrin Cinemas in Chagrin Falls, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium, and The Nightlight in Akron.

There are films for every interest. In addition to their main program, this year’s festival continues to present a selection of “sidebars” or themed film groupings focused around Pan-Asian Films, Focus on Disabilities, Family Films,  African Diaspora, Cinema en Espanol and many other topics.

One of the films in the Women of the World sidebar and two of the festival’s competitions is Semicolon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl.

It features Dana, a 25-year-old woman who was diagnosed at age four with Crohn’s disease. It follows her and her mother as they travel between their home in Las Vegas and the Cleveland Clinic. Instead of viewing all of the surgeries, medications and close encounters with death as a tragedy, Dana tells her story with a grin and a sharp sense of humor.

To quote the film description: “SEMICOLON; THE ADVENTURES OF OSTOMY GIRL is not a story of disease and decay. This is a story of defiance and determination. Prepare to lose your heart as well as your inhibitions about not laughing at ‘certain things.’ Dana will teach you the meaning of courage, along with the value of a really good poop joke!”

With so many films to choose from, deciding what to do during CIFF can be overwhelming. Especially if it’s your first year. However, CIFF’s Film Guide, their website (www.clevelandfilm.org) and social media (@CIFF and Cleveland International Film Festival on Facebook are just two) are excellent places to start. 

Fresh Water Cleveland also asked veteran festival goers like Eat Drink Cleveland what advice they’d give attendees. It’s a must-read.

Once you have an idea about which films you want to see, you can buy tickets online. Tickets are available for purchase online until 11 PM on the day before a screening. You may also purchase tickets by phone (877.304.3456) or in person at the Film Festival Box Office in the lobby of Tower City Cinemas.

Day-of tickets are only available for purchase in person at the Film Festival Box Office.

While you’re at it, head over to USA TODAY to vote for the Cleveland International Film Festival as the best film festival in the U.S.

The contest is part of USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards and CIFF needs your help. Vote for them today and every day (one vote per person per day) through Monday, April 13th to show your support. It only takes two clicks: 10best.com/awards/travel/best-film-festival.

See you at the movies!

I’m Sticking with Duck Tape: Avon’s Duck Tape Festival

My allergies hit me hard this past weekend and while I tried to rest up on Sunday morning, I turned to the soothing voice of Charles Osgood to take my mind off it.

It’s always a treat if I’m able to catch CBS Sunday Morning and I’m glad I tuned into the latest episode which featured something from my own backyard: the Duck Tape plant in Avon, Ohio.

In my college theatre tech days, there were few things I loved more than duct tape, hot glue guns, and a Leatherman. So after Scott and I moved to Avon Lake, I was excited to discover we lived only five minutes from ShurTech’s headquarters, home to the Duck Tape brand of duct tape.

While Duck Tape offers all the traditional types of duct tape and adhesives (I’m partial to ShurTech’s FrogTape for our painting projects), I have spent hours on their site looking at crafting and fabric tapes and colors and prints. They even have an Avengers Duck Tape, you guys!

If you’re on the hunt for a weekend craft activity, look no further than the Ducktivities page for decorative boxes, a Chevron clutch and even a travel game kit. Want to repurpose an old picture frame into a decorative chalkboard? Easy with their Chalkboard Deco Adhesive Laminate.

All things Duck Tape will be celebrated June 13-15 at this year’s Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival.

Duck Tape Festival

It’s the 11th year of the event which takes place at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Avon and features concerts, a Duct Tape Parade, crafting areas and various other duct tape-related activities.

Last year’s winning float was a life-size version of the Back to the Future DeLorean so I can’t wait to see what this year’s parade participants have planned.

The festival is also attempting to break the Guinness World Record of most people modeling in a duct tape fashion show, and you can help!

If you’d like to participate in the fashion show, register here.

Participants are required to wear a minimum of two garments made entirely of duct tape (examples include: shirt/vest/jacket/skirt/pants/shorts) OR one garment made entirely of duct tape and one accessory item made entirely of duct tape (examples include: shoes/hat/scarf/hair bow/headband/purse).

You can read my recap of the 2011 festival and learn more about this year’s Duck Tape Festival at ducktapefestival.com.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a tour of the ShurTech headquarters, but was unable to attend. I also received a box of Duck Tape crafting supplies. My opinions and the choice to blog about the Duck Tape Festival are 100% my own.

New Year’s Eve in Downtown CLE: 3 Parties to Check Out

NYE in CLE

It’s time to bust out the noisemakers and confetti. 2013 is days away from taking its final bow. How are you planning on celebrating New Year’s Eve?

If you don’t have plans yet, try one of these three parties in downtown Cleveland:

Society Lounge’s New Year’s Eve

Scott and I recently made our first trip to Society Lounge on E4th, and as we learned at their Repeal Day party, they know how to throw one classy celebration. Fine cocktails, music, a beautifully nostalgic setting. If you want to reminisce about the past while celebrating the future, join them on December 31. Lounge singer Phil Turk will be performing from 10:30pm to 1:30am, accompanied by a champagne toast at midnight. General tickets are no longer available; however, you can pick up $75 VIP tickets which include your own private table and a bottle of champagne for every two tickets purchased. See the flyer below for more information and call 216-781-9050 for tickets.

Society Lounge

New Year’s Eve at Pura Vida

Dinner reservations are available at Public Square’s Pura Vida from 4 til 10pm. After 10, a house party takes over. Party with Pura Vida and enjoy appetizers, an open bar, a DJ, champagne toast at midnight and breakfast buffet at 1am. Tickets are $100 if you have a dinner reservation earlier in the evening ($125 if you aren’t dining before the party). VIP lounges with bottle service and a personal host are also available. Reservations are required; email Katie@puravidabybrandt.com and see their flyer below for more information.

PuraVidaproof

Cleveland Rocks New Year’s Eve on Public Square

Of course, the biggest party in downtown Cleveland will be Cleveland Rocks New Year’s Eve on Public Square. With special guest Drew Carey, Ohio Homecoming will bring more than 15 food trucks, local DJs, and electronic dance music group Krewella to Public Square for this outdoor NYE festival. The event will also feature live ice sculpting, a beer garden, fireworks and a countdown at midnight. This free celebration starts at 6 p.m. on December 31 and leads up to midnight. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to Ohio Homecoming’s Village Project. Learn more at www.ohiohomecoming.com (click on ‘Events’).

If you can’t make it downtown for NYE, there are parties going on throughout the Cleveland area. Check out WhyCLE and Anchored in CLE for more New Year’s Eve ideas.

Disclosure: Ohio Homecoming emailed me about blogging about Cleveland Rocks New Year’s Eve after I had already decided to write this post. The choice to blog about these three events is 100% my own.

Three Questions for the Ohio Festivals Blog’s 300th Festival

When I posted last week’s Cleveland blogs roundup, I left out one blogger who’s celebrating a milestone because I figured this deserves a post of its own:

Kristian Campana of OhioFestivals.net (left) at the Pawpaw Festival

Kristian Campana of OhioFestivals.net (left) at the Pawpaw Festival

After driving over 20,000 miles through almost all 88 Ohio counties, Kristian Campana of OhioFestivals.net is celebrating his 300th Ohio Festival!

On November 22nd, he’ll visit Wooster, Ohio for their Festival of Trees.

This is the latest in a long string of festivals Kristian has attended, themed around pawpaws, skunks, pork rinds, twins, moonshine and giants. Along the way, he has entered eating contests, judged festival competitions, shared his experiences on radio and television, spoken at the Ohio Festivals and Events Association, and began writing a festival column in Edible Cleveland magazine.

As an accountant and Italian translator by day, blogging about festivals since 2009 has given Kristian the chance to use his Creative Writing MFA. 

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The Clue-Down: 12 Upcoming Cleveland Events

Reminder: You have til Monday 8/19 at 11:59pm to enter the Taste of the Browns Giveaway. You can tweet once a day for extra entries (just leave a separate comment on the post for each tweet).
Cleveland Upcoming Events: This is the last weekend for Literary Lots in Cleveland / artwork by Julia Kuo

This is the last weekend for Literary Lots / artwork by Julia Kuo

There’s much more going in Cleveland than I’m able to blog about.  And while this post still doesn’t capture everything that’s happening, here’s my ‘clue-down’ of upcoming Cleveland events that caught my eye.

THIS WEEKEND

Last Weekend of Literary Lots:  If you haven’t been able to check out Literary Lots this summer, this is the last weekend.  This month Literary Lots turned a vacant lot at Novak Park (Lorain on W. 38th) into a world of creativity for the community. In addition to revitalizing the public space, they’ve offered programming throughout the month that runs til August 18. Today, Friday and Saturday, there will be storytelling, poetry slams, printmaking and other workshops throughout the day. And on Saturday night starting at 8:30pm, all ages are invited to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the lot.  You can see all of their events at literarylots.org/events.

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Put-in-Bay’s Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial Celebration

Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial Celebrations 8/29-9/2

When I think of Put-in-Bay, my first thoughts are of hanging out on the lake, sipping on wine, and enjoying the laid-back pace of island life.

Visiting PiB and Kelleys Island is a highlight of my Cleveland summers — not to mention spring and fall (here’s a recap of our trip to Put-in-Bay last Fall).

What doesn’t immediately come to mind is an epic battle. However, it was off the shores of Put-in-Bay that the ferocious Battle of Lake Erie was fought 200 years ago this September.

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Exxopolis lights up PlayhouseSquare’s International Children’s Festival

Exxopolis at PlayhouseSquare's International Children's Festival

The Bowser-like entrance of Exxopolis at PlayhouseSquare’s International Children’s Festival

Last night, Scott and I stepped off the streets of Cleveland into an alien world. I can’t do it justice, but what looked a little like Bowser’s Super Mario World Castle from the outside, on the inside was like walking through a series of gigantic balloons.

If you were down in PlayhouseSquare yesterday, you may have seen them setting it up in the parking lot across the street and wondered what it is.

Crew member from Architects of Air outside Exxopolis

A crew member from Architects of Air, which designed and tours Exxopolis around the world

It’s Exxopolis, a special interactive exhibit designed by Great Britain’s Architects of Air. And it’s open today through Saturday (May 9, 10 and 11) as part of PlayhouseSquare’s International Children’s Festival.

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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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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.

Sunday Funday Plans at WSM100 + Giveaway Winner

Time to announce the winner for the Oct. 25th CCFA Movie Gala!

As I mentioned when I posted the CCFA Giveaway last week, my favorite excuse to visit Gordon Square’s Capitol Theatre is for their monthly Sunday Classics series. Thank you to everyone for sharing your favorite classics in the comments!

From old musicals (the most popular entry) to Harvey, Hitchcock and of course my fellow Audrey Hepburn fans, you definitely put me in the mood for a classic movie marathon soon.

After counting up all of these entries and removing a pingback and duplicate, the winning entry selected by Random.org is…

Congratulations, entry number 11 – Laura Brewer, for winning a pair of general admission tickets to the CCFA Movie Gala! Email me at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) com by this coming Tuesday to claim your prize.

If you didn’t win, you have another chance through WhyCLE’s giveaway which runs through Monday.

It’s also not too late to purchase tickets.  Tickets cost $50 for an evening of food, two drink tickets and an evening of film screenings (VIP tickets include all of this + an open bar for $100). I hope you’ll join me in showing support for the fight against Crohn’s and Colitis. You can purchase tickets here.

I also hope to see everyone at another event I’m really looking forward to – this Sunday’s West Side Market Centennial Celebration:

Image source: WSM100.org

I know I’m not going to be around for the next Centennial (unless all that science fiction I read about cryogenically freezing someone turns out to be true! ;) ) so I’m going to brave the crowd and head down there Sunday morning.

Starting at 11am, West 25th is going to be closed off til 8pm for the West Side Market Street Festival and Parade.  A WSM-themed parade, featuring current and past vendors, neighborhood block clubs and community groups, will step off at noon, while music, food and more festivities will be going on throughout the district all day.

Plus the event will mark the first time in a decade that West Side Market has been open on a Sunday. In addition to freshly prepared foods from WSM vendors, festival attendees can enjoy two beer gardens and the Ohio City restaurants and food trucks that will be selling food along W. 25th Street all day.

After filling yourself with deliciously local fare, 3 stages of live music and family-friendly activities at the Ohio City Farm’s OC Harvest will help burn away the calories.

Image source wsm100.org

I’m thinking WSM100 and a trip to Put-in-Bay on Saturday for their Island Wine Festival should make up for what’s been a very long week.

 

What are you looking forward to this weekend?