Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Nature’s Bin Cornucopia Uncorked Wine Tasting

Update: After removing one duplicate entry:

Uncorked winner

Congratulations, entry #8 – Kim, for winning this giveaway.

Wine Lovers: I have an event and giveaway specifically for you today

cornucopia uncorked

Are you the person everyone turns to to select a bottle of wine? If you think you know how to pick a good red or just love Cabernet, join Nature’s Bin at the 78th Street Studios’ smARTSpace for Cornucopia Uncorked.

A fundraiser for Nature’s Bin’s Cornucopia program, Uncorked takes place next Thursday, April 10 from 6:30-9:30pm.

Enjoy an evening of food from Nature’s Bin (including something for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans), live music from Men with Short Beards, and a competitive wine tasting.

Tickets cost $50 ($30 of each is tax-deductible). I’m also giving away two tickets below.

But first … What is a competitive wine tasting?

  • Uncorked guests bring 2 bottles of Cabernet, the evening’s theme wine (preferably priced between $12 and $24, or as close as possible). 
  • At check in, one bottle is bagged and numbered.  The other bottle is then set aside. 
  • The bagged bottles are put out for tasting (you can’t see through the bags so no one knows what they are tasting).
  • Everyone then votes for their favorite blind-tasted wine.
  • The guests who bring the top five voted bottles are awarded prizes.
  • The person who brings the number one wine will receive the majority of other bottles that have been set aside.

Uncorked is not just a great way to put your wine tastes to the test, but the event will also raise money for Cornucopia.

Since 1975, Nature Bin’s Cornucopia program has helped people with disabilities develop their skills, confidence, and workplace potential by providing work adjustment training and job coaching and placement services.  Today, they serve people with a wide range of severe disabilities including developmental disabilities, mental illness, autism, visual and hearing impairment, and injuries resulting from accident or illness.

Fundraisers like Uncorked help Nature’s Bin fund their non-profit program so that they can continue to help unlock individuals’ potential and become fully functioning members of their communities.

Cornucopia

While I’d love to attend Uncorked, I’m unfortunately allergic to red wine. (I know, with a maiden name like DiGiandomenico, it’s a funny allergy to have.)

The upside of this is that one lucky person and their friend get to benefit from my allergy by going in my place. All you have to do is enter my giveaway.

How to enter: Do 1, some, or all 5 of the entries. Separate comment needed for each.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) What’s your favorite type of Cabernet? Leave a comment on this post letting me know.

2) Follow @Naturesbin and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave one comment on this post telling me you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and Nature’s Bin on Facebook, leave one comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win tickets to #CLE’s Cornucopia Uncorked wine tasting. Enter @ADHicken and @Naturesbin’s giveaway: http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2sQ

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until April 7 at 11:59 pm to enter. Random.org will select the winner, which I will announce on April 8. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Uncorked with a guest in exchange for blogging about it. I can’t attend so am giving away my two tickets. My choice to post about this and any opinions are 100% my own.

Scott’s Take: Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo, Sometimes Smaller is Better

Scott’s stepping in for me today with his review of the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo. Considering he does most of the home improvement projects in our house, I figured he might be better suited for this one. Plus, it gives me an excuse to share this photo from the show:

Scott and Dinosaur

I’ve been very eager to get into the Cleveland Convention Center (CCC) ever since construction completed. I’d read varying reports of how others experienced and explored the subterranean show space, and I wanted to see it for myself.

I love conventions and have been to my fair share of convention spaces. The Cleveland Convention Center’s unique construction intrigued me. So when we had the opportunity to attend The Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo (H+R Expo), which was hosted within Cleveland’s new expo center, I was quite excited.

Home Show Floor

The overhanging question, of course, is how both the H+R Expo and the CCC compare to their big brothers, The Great Big Home & Garden Show and the I-X Center respectively. I can summarize the comparison for both with one statement: sometimes smaller is more satisfying.

Regarding the show space itself, the most noticeable thing stepping into the CCC is that it is shockingly, pleasantly quiet. As Amanda and I walked around we encountered large groups, especially in the back where a presentation was going on, but never did I hear the dull background “roar” of noise I’ve come to expect from similarly larger convention halls. It generally felt that if I could see it, I could hear it, but not much buzz beyond that was getting to me.

Being underground, the CCC has none of the high windows that can be seen at the I-X Center. But their absence did not bother me or give me a sense of being contained beneath the street level. Both the I-X and CCC rely on artificial light regardless of the presence of windows, and the lack of them meant there was nothing to remind me of the “outside world” and my relativity to it. Once I was in the CCC and walking around, I didn’t think twice about my sea level altitude. It was nice.

The CCC’s more compact square footage also meant that food, drink, and restrooms never felt like a hike. We didn’t partake of any of the food, but the available options appeared clean, bright, and had reasonable lines. A leisurely pace from one end of the show space to the other would only take a few minutes, so if you’ve traveled into the middle of the expo, almost everything is fairly close to you in every direction.  The convention center’s location in downtown Cleveland also means if you want to venture outside for a restaurant, you have plenty of options.

Looking at the H+R Expo itself, the smaller number of sellers was actually really nice. Although there were some stands I remembered seeing at The Great Big Home & Garden Show, this wasn’t a bad thing because they were stands I was happy to see again.  And each booth seemed truly relevant to the “Home and Remodeling” theme. If you’ve ever walked around a large convention’s floor, you sometimes run into vendors who are only tangentially (or not at all) related to the show’s niche. The reduced availability of spaces actually created more relevant variety.

Pod Home

Of course, the smaller space means less grandeur. There were some awesome things to see – such as the inflated pod house pictured above and some pieces we recognized from a beer garden that had displayed at the Great Big Show. But we didn’t find any massive gardens or landscapes constructed in the CCC.

The upside of this is that I wasn’t completely beat after our first walkthrough of the aisles and displays. Amanda and I actually shopped at the H+R Expo.  For the first time in a long time when we said “We’ll come back and get this after we’ve looked around,” we really did go back and do it. We bought a hanging planter, wine mixers, and bar ware.

While I’ve found The Great Big Show is great for generating ideas and checking out things we may buy in the future, the H+R Expo was small and focused in such a way that I actually had the energy to spend some money then and there.

Cleveland Blastmaster

So to wrap things up, at the end of the day the CCC’s smaller size and the H+R Expo’s more focused theme meant that it didn’t feel like the end of the day when Amanda and I left.

I can confidently say that the Cleveland region is quite big enough for two convention centers and two home shows, where one is more about grandeur and concept and the other more about personal experience. Because a funny thought struck me as we were coming out of the Cleveland Convention Center’s Home and Remodeling Expo: this was the first time I’d been to a convention where I actually had the time – and energy – to stop and smell the roses.

Well, flowers anyway. It was a nice change of pace.

Flowers

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the show with a guest, in exchange for hosting a giveaway.

Help Build Trentina’s Community Chandelier at MOCA Cleveland

By now you’ve probably heard about Jonathon and Amelia Sawyer’s newest restaurant project Trentina.

Team Sawyer is turning to the eastside and taking over the space that used to house Sergio’s in University Circle. Inspired by dishes from northern Italy’s Trentino region, the plan is to open by May of this year.

What sets Trentina apart from the team’s other restaurants is that this is the first one they are opening on their own. As they wrote on their Kickstarter project: No outside influences, just us.

Unsurprisingly, Trentina’s Kickstarter  funded at nearly double their original goal, netting $39,583 from 206 backers.

Disclosure: I contributed to the Kickstarter because I think it’s a great idea for a restaurant and, as someone in the process of launching a comics label with my husband, appreciate the desire to have something that’s yours.

In addition to helping raise funds for Trentina, the Kickstarter was an excellent way to include the community in the restaurant’s creation.

Although the Kickstarter may be over, you have another way to contribute to Trentina thanks to their partnership with MOCA Cleveland.

A visit to one of MOCA’s Family Nights sparked an idea for the design of Trentina. As Amelia writes on Chef’s Widow, “What if our community built an art installation that could be viewed year round at the restaurant?”

Scott at MOCA

Through April 12, visit Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art for INTERMISSION: Community Chandelier Project where you can help build the chandelier that will hang in Trentina.

Scott and I recently dropped by MOCA’s free first floor to add beads to the wire strings that will construct the chandelier.

When the chandelier is complete, color beads will represent the entire community who came out to show their support. A plaque will hang in the restaurant detailing the community’s effort and the history behind the project.

The Trentina chandelier project will continue through April 12 during the museum’s hours:Tuesday-Sunday, 11–5 pm; open until 9 pm Thursdays; and closed Mondays. MOCA staff confirmed late last week that the only date the project won’t be available is March 28.

Trentina beads

While you’re at MOCA, take some time to also explore the museum’s current exhibits and upcoming events.

The 2 exhibits at MOCA through June 8 are DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death and Sara VanDerBeek’s solo show looking at Cleveland’s landscape and the changes it’s undergoing. A list of the museum’s other programming, including lectures, performances, and hands-on activities, can be found here.

Admission to the museum is free for MOCA Cleveland members and children 5 and under. General Admission is $8 ($6 Ages 65+, $5  Students with valid ID).

The first Saturday of the month is free for everyone and features special programming. The next one on April 5 includes a 15 minute Target Talk, led by museum staff who share their personal reflections on the exhibits, ArtSquad activities for families with kids 10 and under, and a free bookbinding workshop offered by the Cleveland Institute of Art. And, of course, Trentina’s community chandelier and other projects on the first floor are always free.

Yuri’s Night Space Party at Great Lakes Science Center: Cleveland’s Part in Worldwide Spaceflight Celebration

Cleveland's Yuri's Night Space Party at the Great Lakes Science Center takes place April 12, 2014

Cleveland’s Yuri’s Night Space Party at the Great Lakes Science Center takes place April 12, 2014

On Sunday, Scott and I excitedly curled up on the couch for the premiere of Cosmos. Scott, a fan of the original with Carl Sagan; I, a fan of host Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Radio.

A fantastic storyteller who’s able to make science more accessible and entertaining, Tyson brought us back in time and far into the universe in only the first episode.

Shows like Cosmos and StarTalk may be the closest I get to outer space. However, on April 12, I’ll be joining the world in celebrating the anniversary of the first human to get closer.

The Great Lakes Science Center, home of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, is the perfect spot for Yuri's Night

The Great Lakes Science Center, home of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, is the perfect spot for Yuri’s Night

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into outer space for a 108-minute flight orbiting the Earth. For over a decade, cities around the world honor the first human spaceflight, as well as the inaugural launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981, with Yuri’s Night.

Since 2001, these Yuri’s Night events combine space-themed partying with education and outreach in honor of humanity’s past, present, and future in space.

So far this year, there are 54 parties in 13 counties, including Cleveland’s Yuri’s Night Space Party at the Great Lakes Science Center on Saturday, April 12.

I attended my first Yuri’s Night party last year, and I can tell you: the Great Lakes Science Center REALLY knows how to party. Anywhere I can do the robot to the Tetris theme song and party with Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Star Trek look-alikes is my kind of event!

Some of my favorite costumes and science experiments from last year's Yuri's Night Space Party

Some of my favorite costumes and science experiments from last year’s Yuri’s Night Space Party

This year’s Cleveland Yuri’s Night will feature:

  • Live music by Abby Normal, Vibe & Direct, DJ 41SE7EN and OZMTZ and dancing all night long
  • Beer and wine - Sam Adams beer, Angry Orchard cider, Barefoot wines and light hors d’oeuvres included in ticket price while supplies last; cash bar for cocktails and special treats
  • Costume contest – wear your best space-themed attire
  • GLSC’s Big Science Show, cool science demos and their signature midnight balloon drop
  • Special appearances by astronaut Greg Johnson, Cleveland Institute of Art, the Great Lakes Base of the Rebel Legion, Ohio Garrison / 501st Legion and the Mandalorian Mercs
  • New this year: A Black Light Lounge and outdoor deck party experience (weather permitting)

Tickets also include admission to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, GLSC’s special exhibition Wildlife Rescue, and free parking in their attached garage.

Don’t wait to get your tickets: Early bird pricing of $40 is still available, but only until March 17. Ticket prices will go up to $55 per ticket on March 18. Purchase online or call 216-621-2400.

UPDATE (3/24): Enter to win 2 tickets to Yuri’s Night at Poise in Parma.

Hope to see you partying on the dance floor at this year's Yuri's Night

Hope to see you partying on the dance floor at this year’s Yuri’s Night

Want to learn more about Yuri’s Night?  Check out the Great Lakes Science Center’s Facebook event site here and follow @YurisNight to keep up-to-date on all of the global celebrations.

Disclosure: I will be attending with a guest as media but was going to write about the event regardless. My opinions are 100% my own.

Free Concert: CityMusic Cleveland’s World Premiere Inspired by Cleveland Refugee Community

Blogkeeping: Congrats Jenny S for winning the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo giveaway. Please reply to my email by end of today to confirm you can still attend.
CityMusic Cleveland will perform the world premiere of Dan Visconti's Roots to Branches, along with Ung's Khse Buon for cello solo and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" on March 12-16

CityMusic Cleveland will perform the world premiere of Dan Visconti’s Roots to Branches, along with Ung’s Khse Buon for cello solo and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” on March 12-16

Cleveland has a rich ethnic heritage, dating back far into the city’s history and spanning many cultures. The Cleveland Memory Project, for instance, hosts some fascinating information from The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum’s Immigrant Experience Project, which recorded the stories of approximately ninety immigrants from over thirty cultural backgrounds.

Today, many refugee populations continue to forge a new home in the Cleveland region.

A new musical piece commissioned by CityMusic Cleveland weaves together the stories of these communities, the hardship and oppression they’ve fled, and their long journey to settle in Cleveland.

Dan Visconti’s Roots to Branches will make its world premiere this week during CityMusic’s March concert series.

As with all of their concert series, CityMusic will tour the performance at different locations around Cleveland. And in keeping with CityMusic’s mission to make chamber music more accessible, every concert is free though donations are welcomed.

The concert premieres tomorrow, March 12 at 7:30pm at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights. Other performances include:

Visconti worked with CityMusic and Grammy-winning percussionist Shane Shanahan to produce this new work, a concerto for hand percussion with orchestra and narrator. In an email to CityMusic supporters, he shared what inspired the composition:

“The title of the concerto comes from this quote, from an interview with a local Bhutanese refugee:

‘I have lost my roots but gained many branches; my family tree flowers once again with the promise of opportunity, and in my turn my greatest hope is to give back to this great country that has given my family a new chance to blossom.’

In turns hair-raising, offbeat, and joyous, the concerto Roots to Branches features percussion instruments from around the globe, gives expressive voice to these refugees’ experiences, and paints a portrait of a population that is already giving back to the community that offered them the chance of a better life.”

In addition to Roots to Branches, this week’s concert series will include Khse Buon for cello solo by Cambodian-American composer Chinary Ung and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”. An IndieGoGo project is also underway to record Roots to Branches so that the stories of our community’s refugees can be told to others.

Roots to Branches' composer Dan Visconti

Composer Dan Visconti

This will be only my second CityMusic Cleveland concert. When I attended their Viennese Waltz Kings concert in December, I fell in love with CityMusic’s mission of calling attention to social concerns while making chamber music more accessible to the Cleveland community. It also helped that the performance was incredible and the group’s welcoming spirit was so contagious.

It’s no surprise that as they celebrate their 10th anniversary, CityMusic Cleveland is reaching nearly 20,000 people per season.

In conjunction with the concerto’s world premiere, CityMusic will be at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland on Sunday, March 16. Join them and special guests from Cleveland’s refugee community to learn kids’ songs from all over the globe. The interactive presentation will take place at 10:30am, 11:30am, and 12:30pm.

They’ll also be presenting a program with Global Cleveland at the City Club of Cleveland on March 21. At noon, global human rights activist Kerry Kennedy will speak about the plight of modern-day refugees, highlighting the stories of hidden communities of refugees settling in the US, including those from Bhutan/Nepal, Myanmar, Iraq, and Somalia. Call 216-621-0082 to make reservations.

Disclosure: I was asked to share this event on my blog; however, I would have anyway because I support CityMusic’s mission and was already planning on attending one of the free concerts. Opinions here are 100% my own.

Theater Ninjas’ [sic]: Minding Our Mistakes

Theater Ninjas' production of [sic] is at the 78th Street Studios through March 15

Theater Ninjas’ production of [sic] is at the 78th Street Studios through March 15

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take in two very different, but good shows. We first saw The Great Lakes’ Deathtrap on Saturday, a polished, entertaining comic thriller (you can read my recap here). Then on Monday, Scott and I saw Theater Ninjas’ [sic].

Melissa James Gibson’s verbose, frenetic [sic] focuses on three neighbors, their mistakes, and their friendship of convenience.

Babette is trying – unsuccessfully - to pitch a book about history-changing temper tantrums. Theo is struggling to compose a theme song for the Thrill-o-Rama rollercoaster. And Frank is stumbling over his words as he dreams of becoming a professional auctioneer.

While they’re each counting pennies and hitting the wall with their creative pursuits, they’re making mistakes in their personal lives. Drunken hookups, vanished wives, jealousies over an ex-boyfriend who’s moved on.

[sic] shows the three repeatedly spilling out of their apartments and into the hallway with their ups, downs, arguments, and flirtations, before slamming a door and retreating into their personal prisons.

It was exhilarating and a little emotionally exhausting.

Left to right:  Actors Ryan Lucas, Rachel Lee Kolis and Gabriel Riazi, as Theo, Babette and Frank in [sic]

Left to right: Actors Ryan Lucas, Rachel Lee Kolis and Gabriel Riazi, as Theo, Babette and Frank in [sic]

Watching [sic] brought back vivid memories of my early twenties in Philly. Working in the marketing and sales department of a theatre during the day, then backstage on a show at night to help pay my bills, and volunteering for a startup theatre company whenever I could squeeze in a few moments.

There was little sleep, but who needed it when you were fueled by putting order to the chaos and a couple of martinis.

Although I may not have been a full-blown trainwreck at the time, I would have qualified at least as a fender bender trying to figure out what I wanted and making many mistakes.

Looking back, was it exhausting? Yes. But was it also an incredibly fun and invaluable experience? Definitely. And many good stories resulted from that time.

Which is why I loved [sic]. It made me recall working back-to-back shows on Sundays, punctuated by a riotous weekly dinner with the rest of the crew and cast. Or having a cigarette with my roommate on our apartment building’s front stoop, hoping we’d run into our neighbor Akbar, a local artist and chef who always had something interesting to say.

Director Pandora Robertson pondered in [sic]‘s playbill “Why do we end up with the friends that we have? Why do some friendships last and others fade instantly? Do we really choose our friends?”

We don’t really have that much control as the characters in [sic] demonstrate. They’re brought together because they all knew the same mutual “friend,” someone we don’t meet, but hear a lot about from Babette, Theo, and Frank.

Much of [sic] rotates around the characters' mistakes and their habit of pointing out the others' in defense of their own

Much of [sic] rotates around the characters’ mistakes and their habit of pointing out the others’ in defense of their own

At multiple points during the show, each character uses scathing words to hurt the others. Regardless, though, they’re there together at the end to console, tease, and probably hurt again. It’s raw, poetic, and, even at it’s most ridiculous, realistic.  

[sic]‘s script runs at a manic pace, focused on the cacophony of the city and the at-times overly clever language of its inhabitants. I found myself having problems keeping up on occasion and missing a line here or there. However, the actors playing Babette (Rachel Lee Kolis), Theo (Ryan Lucas), and Frank (Gabriel Riazi) never waned in energy and thrust our focus from each tumultuous moment to the next.

Kolis, in particular, captured my attention and never let go. Her expressions and body language were always in sync with Babette’s shifting moods and whirlwind outbursts. Whether she was seeking a few pennies or support for her book (neither of which she got from anyone but Theo), her desperation shot straight to my heart.

Theo tortures himself in his cramped apartment while Babette and Frank listen

Theo bangs out a not-very-thrilling Thrill-o-Rama composition while Babette and Frank listen outside his cramped apartment

The highlight of every Theater Ninja show is seeing how they use a performance space, whether it’s the atrium at the Cleveland Museum of Art or a common area between a few galleries in the 78th Street Studios.

In the same space where Theater Ninjas’ first run of Excavation had audience members wandering between multiple vignettes, set designer Val Kozlenko has built out [sic]‘s intimate, messy apartments.

Even though each apartment is the size of a broom closet, it fully realizes the inhabitant’s personality and problems. I loved how each space was built at a slant, melding into the 78th Street Studios’ walls and support columns, creating a refuge where the characters could continue to torture themselves in private. 

[sic] will be at the 78th Street Studios through March 15 with shows on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday at 8pm. Tickets range between $15 and $20. Purchase them at https://squareup.com/market/theater-ninjas

Disclosure: I was invited to attend [sic] with a guest in exchange for sharing my opinions of the production. The opinions here are 100% my own.

Great Lakes Theater Sets a (Death)trap for Entertainment

Enter to win 2 tickets to Cleveland’s all-new Home and Remodeling Expo at the Cleveland Convention Center. You can tweet once a day for extra entries!

There are some weeks that make me want to crawl into bed and never come out, and I feel like the last few weeks have been that way. It got to a point by the end of last Thursday where I just couldn’t function. Stringing together a sentence that made sense was nearly impossible.

However, I finally had a chance this weekend to recharge. There are two things that help me find my way back to normal. One — relaxing in bed and reading comic books until 10:30 on a Saturday morning. And two — going to see a show.

Theatre, regardless of whether it’s a comedy, drama, musical or play, does something to lift my brain out of a funk. I think it has to do with the fact that the action is unfolding live, in the same room as me. Unlike a two dimensional movie, all of my senses are engaged at a play. The exercise of such incredible focus allows my brain to clear.

Fortunately, over the weekend, I had the opportunity to take in two great shows which I’ll discuss in two posts this week. Although very different, they each provided me with what I needed.

First up was Social Media Night at Great Lakes Theatre. It’s a fantastic program that GLT’s Audience Engagement Manager Chris Fornadel has created, inviting bloggers and active CLE tweeters to learn more about their shows.

Actors Tom Ford (left, as scheming playwright Sidney Ruhl) and Nick Steen (right, as Clifford Anderson) in Deathtrap (Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

Actors Tom Ford (left, as scheming playwright Sidney Ruhl) and Nick Steen (right, as Clifford Anderson) in Deathtrap (Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

The latest meetup was for Deathtrap, Great Lakes Theater’s current production onstage at the Hanna through March 16.

I’ve written time and again of my love for murder mysteries, and Deathtrap is one of the genre’s masterpieces. It’s not just the longest-running comic thriller on Broadway, but was also made into the 1982 film featuring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. However, in my 31 years, I still had never seen it.

I count myself lucky that Great Lakes’ production was my first time. Trying to figure out the twists and turns is my favorite part of a mystery, and it’s difficult to recapture that feeling on the second or third viewing/read.

And, boy, does Great Lakes’ Deathtrap have a lot of twists. In fact, with so many shockers, it’s the perfect homage to the classic whodunit.

Ford explains his scheme to actor Tracee Patterson, who plays his wife Myra Bruhl

Ford explains his scheme to actor Tracee Patterson, who plays his wife Myra Bruhl (Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

On the surface, the premise is simple: Sidney Bruhl used to be a successful Broadway playwright. However, he can’t come up with his next big hit. In fact, he’s had so many flops, the money is running out.

It’s just his luck that a former student has written a thrilling script with the potential to make lots of money. He has sent it to Sidney, looking for writing advice. Instead, Sidney hatches a plan (which may or may not include murder) to steal the script.  

Before the show, Cleveland mystery writer Les Roberts spoke about Deathtrap, murder mysteries, and his time in Cleveland. It is always a treat to hear Roberts speak and you can read a bit about his journey to Cleveland in my review of his novel Whiskey Island.

His talk was an excellent way to prepare for the show, and his comment of life imitating art (playwright Ira Levin had a series of unsuccessful plays and movies after Deathtrap) was especially interesting. 

Les Roberts talking at Great Lakes Theater's Deathtrap pre-show

Les Roberts talking at Great Lakes Theater’s Deathtrap pre-show

We got to try something new with this production’s Social Media Night: tweeting during the show. By placing us in the Hanna Theatre’s boxes, we could tweet without disrupting other audience members’ experience.

Although it was interesting to livetweet the performance, I will admit to being so engrossed in the show’s details that I didn’t tweet too often.

However, these three tweets captured my thoughts on some of the highlights:

I couldn’t find a fault with the performance. The cast and crew made excellent use of an intriguing script. And while Tom Ford as Sidney Ruhl was a treat, Tracee Patterson (Sidney’s wife), Nick Steen (Clifford), Lynn Allison (the psychic Helga Ten Dorp), and Aled Davies (Sidney’s lawyer) made up an airtight ensemble around him. It also balances the murderous mayhem with biting oneliners.

I recommend this production for anyone looking for a good laugh, a little murder, and a lot of surprise. Deathtrap runs until March 16. Purchase tickets here and use promo code GLT to receive a discount.

The season concludes with As You Like It (April 9-24) and the HANNApalooza fundraiser (June 14).  Great Lakes Theater returns in the fall with their 2014-2015 season: Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Tempest, as well as Dial “M” for Murder and Les Miserables.

I’ll be back later this week with my thoughts on Theater Ninjas’ [sic].

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Deathtrap Social Media Night in exchange for tweeting or blogging about it. My opinions are 100% my own.

Giveaway: Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo at the Downtown Cleveland Convention Center

UPDATE: After removing one pingback and one duplicate entry:

Home Expo Winner

Congratulations entry #7 – Jenny S – for winning this giveaway!

Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo 2

Working at E9th and St. Clair, I’ve had the chance to watch the last few years’ construction on the Cleveland Convention Center from our office windows. However, while I witnessed the drastic transformation that Lakeside Avenue underwent, I still haven’t been inside.

That changes when the first-ever Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo takes over downtown March 14-16.

Not only am I looking forward to checking out the convention center, I really want to see what this brand-new show has up its sleeve.

This expo is specifically focused on home remodeling, decor and improvement. Although it’s hosted by the same group that does the Great Big Home and Garden Show, the 2014 Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo includes a number of different features such as:

Perrino Vignettes: Mayfield Heights’ Perrino Builders and Furniture will present idea spaces for remodeling and decorating, including kitchen renovations, a pub and wine bar, and a home theatre.

Grow Cleveland Pavilion: Stop by the Whole Foods-sponsored pavilion for tips on urban living and small-space gardening. Local organizations promoting the growth of Cleveland, area farmers markets and food sampling from Whole Foods will also be available.

Ultimate Garage: If you’ve ever seen the inside of our garage then you know we need some major help in cleaning it out. Ohio’s EncoreGarage will showcase garage organization and renovation ideas including flooring, wall-mounted custom cabinets for flexible storage, and durable all-steel organization products to store tools, bikes, sporting equipment, and gardening supplies.

CasaBubble: And because this just sounds intriguing … check out the inflatable CasaBubble, a new way to sleep under the stars without worrying about mosquitoes, pollen, allergens and humidity issues.

Casabubble 5

Ty Pennington, Rehab Addict’s Nicole Curtis, CTV design expert Ramsin Khachi and Room by Room’s Matt Fox will also present throughout the weekend.

When you’re done at the Expo, stop by the Great Lakes Science Center, Public Square, or one of downtown’s many restaurants and attractions. Need ideas? Check out this guide I put together for another convention in downtown Cleveland.

Tickets for the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo cost only $10 at the box office, $8 online. Save another dollar by using promo code CIC when you buy online.

I’m also giving away a pair of tickets to the event. How to enter: Do one, some, or all five of the entries. A separate comment is needed for each.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Visit homeandremodelingexpo.com then leave a comment on this post with one thing you’re  excited to see at the first Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo.

2) Follow @GreatBigShow and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave one comment on this post telling me you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and Home and Garden Events on Facebook, leave one comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win tickets to the first-ever #CLE Home + Remodeling Expo. Enter @ADHicken’s @GreatBigShow giveaway: http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2qY

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until March 10 at 11:59 pm to enter. Random.org will select the winner, which I will announce on March 11. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry and please note that individuals cannot win multiple Home and Remodeling Expo giveaways. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo with a guest in exchange for hosting a giveaway. My choice to post about this and any opinions are 100% my own.

Jump Back Ball 0023: Shaken at the State Theatre

Jump Back Ball 0023: Shaken Not Stirred

Jump Back Ball 0023 VIP Party

Glamorous women, well-attired men, martinis and gadgets. This year’s Jump Back Ball is one that would have put a smirk, if not a full-blown smile on 007′s face.

We started in the Palace Theatre lobby for the VIP party. JBB0023′s VIP sponsor was Chef Dante Boccuzzi, who wasn’t content just serving delicious food, but also impressed everyone with his playful presentation.

Seafood Salad from Dante Next Door at Jump Back Ball VIP

Dante Next Door’s Seafood Salad at the Jump Back Ball VIP party

The vegetarian sushi rolls, seafood salad with plump shrimp and scallop, and creamy polenta with tomato braised pork ragu were the highlights. Fresh ingredients and full of flavor.

However, it was little things like turning the sushi roll into a push-up pop and presenting the seafood salad in sardine cans that reminded me of the well-executed and enjoyable experiences we’ve had at his Dante Dining Group restaurants.

Ginko's sushi push-up pops at the Jump Back Ball VIP party

Ginko’s sushi push-up pops at the Jump Back Ball VIP party

In years past, I’ve filled up on food at the VIP party because I’d only want to grab a bite or two at the main event. However, one of the improvements to this year’s Jump Back Ball was a catered dinner by Driftwood and Chris Hodgson.

Every JBB guest was treated to crisp white asparagus, pieorgi, Shepherd’s Pie, and other hearty dishes, fuel for an evening of partying.

And that fuel was very much needed.

Playing Spy Hunter at Jump Back Ball

Playing Spy Hunter at Jump Back Ball

At JBB 0023, we played Spy Hunter, tore down the Berlin Wall, tested our flexibility – and sobriety – by navigating the laser gauntlet, and wrote down what we planned on doing before next year’s Jump Back Ball. “Become Batman” and “launch a comic book company” were my and Scott’s answers. Unfortunately, I think only one of those will happen before next February.

While our dance moves may not have been the best, the flutes of champagnes and various other cocktails helped (or at least made me care less). The champagne bar was my other favorite addition to this year’s Jump Back Ball and one I hope becomes a more permanent fixture.

Hitting the dance floor is made better by these ladies and a glass of bubbly

These ladies and a glass of bubbly are two ways to make my dance moves much better

Although the main stage band Your Villain My Hero was enjoyable, we really rocked out with Pop Rocks who played out the rest of the evening in the State Theatre lobby. You’d think we’d be tired by 10pm after partying since six; however, they helped us gain our second wind.

Of course, a post about Jump Back Ball is incomplete without a look at the looks of the evening. To complement the State Theatre, which was dressed in an incredible light show, Jump Back Ball’s guests donned glittering and elegant garb.

My favorite part of Jump Back Ball's decor was the emphasis on lights, which really highlighted the theatre's beauty

My favorite part of Jump Back Ball’s decor was the emphasis on lights, which really highlighted the theatre’s beauty

I loved seeing a few of my fellow Oddjobs, a beautiful sari dress, Q, a martini shaker, and my Man with the Golden Gun in full white tuxedo. I even ran into Bond, James Bond, ornithologist – the one and only Clark Pope of Pope’s Kitchen, whose bloody mary mix was put to good use the next day.

If you’d like to get involved with PlayhouseSquare Partners, the group that organizes and hosts Jump Back Ball each year, drop me a line. Or stop by our Partners Happy Hour this Thursday, March 6 at Battery Park Wine Bar.

The last couple of years I’ve ended my Jump Back Ball posts with a goofy picture of Scott. Until next year, I leave you with this:

Happy Jump Back Ball!

Hey, mom!

Disclosure: I’m on the board of PlayhouseSquare Partners, the organization that hosts Jump Back Ball. I also blogged about the event as a Jump Back Ball blogger.