Tag Archives: events

If a LeBron Plays in the Q, and No One is There to Watch It …

   

… Does it Make a Sound?  

   

A number of Cleveland restaurants are trying to answer that question when Miami plays the Cavs in Cleveland this season.

 

   

What boggled my mind the most about last Thursday’s ‘LeBron Show’ was how many people tuned in.   Nearly 10 million U.S. viewers watched what has been considered a low point for journalism and pro sports.  Although the majority of those who watched it were annoyed, we still contributed to the madness by tuning in.  In fact, Ari Emanuel (Rahm’s brother, the inspiration for Entourage’s Ari and one of the individuals behind the entire thing) has even defended the ESPN special as a win for advertiser-funded programming.   

And he’s right.  From this point of view, it was a success.  No matter what happens to LeBron’s reputation, the advertisers who spent money to get exposure time reached almost 10 million people with their message.  And when it comes down to it, this is only because we fed the media frenzy.  And I count myself among those at fault. Although I decided to read my new batch of comic books instead of watching (thanks, Astound!), I still got suckered into reading the endless coverage of it on Twitter.  

What would have happened if we hadn’t watched this spectacle?  How much of an epic fail would it have been for ESPN and the advertisers?  And how can we starve the LeBrand machine when Miami inevitably faces off with the Cavs this season?    

A growing group of Cleveland restaurants has created ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain‘ to answer that question.  

Since LeBron, Wade and Bosh have said they won’t be bothered by Cleveland’s boos and that people will be eager to watch them no matter where they play, ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain’ has proposed a plan to boost restaurant and bar sales during these games, support the Cavs’ ticket sales, and get back a little at ‘LeBron and The SuperFriends.’    

The plan is still in the works as they continue to recruit more and more local restaurants; however, ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain’ is encouraging fans of the Cavs and Cleveland to purchase tickets to next season’s Miami-Cleveland basketball games and then not attend.  As an incentive, ticketholders can bring their unused ticket to one of the participating restaurants during the hours of the game and receive a discount on food. Right now, they’re asking restaurants to allow for a 50% discount (not an insignificant price cut).   

The goal of all of this is to make the Q as empty as possible during the Miami game while supporting the Cavs’ ticket sales at the same time. Plus, they hope to pack all of the supporting restaurants to disprove the myth that LeBron leaving will affect the city’s economy as much as some think.   

There are a lot of great restaurants who already signed on to participate, and the group only started organizing the boycott this past Saturday:  

Since silence is the best way to starve an attention addict, I hope ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain’ gets as much attention as was unduly given LeBron last week. Personally, I think it’s an enterprising proposal and plan on buying my tickets as soon as I can.   

Official Miami Boycott Bargain 411:  

Miami Boycott Bargain on Facebook
Cavs Ticket Info

A Weekend Trifecta of CLE Arts, Eats and Roller Derby

 
… A look back at last weekend’s Parade the Circle, BRRG and Chef Jam 2010 …
 

The Sold-Out Chef Jam 2010 on Sunday night demonstrated the thriving partnership between Cleveland's restaurant and music communities.

 

One of my goals when I started this blog was to highlight a variety of the places and events that can be found in Cleveland.  And I hope that I’ve made some progress in doing so.  I truly believe that whatever your interests, Cleveland offers a number of great opportunities to meet those needs throughout the year.   
 
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to demonstrate this notion of a versatile Cleveland by seeing if I could fill one weekend with activities that would appeal to different tastes.  Last weekend I was able to find and attend 3 Cleveland events that would interest fans of arts & culture, sports, local food and music: University Circle’s Parade the Circle, the Burning River Roller Girls’ semifinals, and Chef Jam 2010. 

    

PARADE THE CIRCLE   

Colorful balloon arches introduced each section of Parade the Circle.

 

The floats and costumes found throughout the Parade were full of intricate and creative designs.

 

My weekend started early Saturday morning when I sleepily dragged myself out of bed to head over to Cleveland’s Eastside for Parade the Circle.   

In addition to floats, costumed stilt-walkers and musicians made their way down East Boulevard.

 

I knew that I’d need to gather my strength for a long day, so I first stopped by The Inn on Coventry for breakfast.  The Inn on Coventry, which will celebrate its 29th anniversary this July, is a mom-and-mom community restaurant with three generations of home-style cooks.  It’s been named one of the best breakfasts in Cleveland, and my first time there did not disappoint as they balanced a creative and delicious breakfast menu with the laidback atmosphere and value you’d find at a family-run restaurant.  I ordered a short-stack of their Crunchberry Pancakes and was very pleased with the result — two huge pancakes with granola and blueberry mixed in. Other pancakes on the menu include lemon ricotta, pumpkin and reese’s pancakes.  Not a fan of pancakes?  Their selection of egg specialities had me looking forward to my next visit so that I can try out their Swedish Eggs.   

Hawken School Community's Op and Pop and Things that Go Round! float.

 

I walked off  my hearty breakfast on my way down to Wade Oval for Parade the Circle.  Parade the Circle – often heralded as Cleveland’s signature summer event – is held yearly in University Circle’s Wade Oval by the Cleveland Museum of Art and University Circle, Inc.  At noon, a parade of floats, puppets, stilt-walkers, dancers, and musicians weaved its way down East Boulevard and Wade Oval Drive.  The creativity and intricacy found in the floats and costumes aptly demonstrated the dedication and talent of our local arts groups, community organizations and schools. Another highlight of the parade was how a number of the displays were themed around the environment — incorporating the idea of conservation not just in what the floats presented but also how they were constructed.  For instance, Sawson Alhaddad and Friends’ Phoenix-themed float was a giant phoenix bird constructed entirely of discarded medical supplies.    

After the parade, Circle Village was open in Wade Oval until 4pm for an afternoon of interactive displays, live music, and local food.   

Circle Village featured activities sponsored by local organizations.

 

Among other things, the 32+ activities promoted:    

  • the arts – the Famicos Foundation invited children to paint one of three canvas murals with an image from their neighborhood;
  • science – the Cleveland Museum of Natural History celebrated their 90th anniversary with hands-on science crafts;
  • healthier lifestyles – the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Center had families create a Dream Catcher and provided educational information and a nursing staff to answer questions about sleep habits

Parade the Circle has always proven to be a unique event that does an excellent job in promoting community involvement and an awareness of the arts in Cleveland – and this year was no different.     

    

BURNING RIVER ROLLER GIRLS’ SEMIFINALS   

The jammer for the Hellbombers (left) speeds towards the pack as the Hard Knockers look on from the bench.

 

After spending the day out in the heat, it was nice to head over to the airconditioned Wolstein Center for the Burning River Roller Girls‘ semifinals bout.  The BRRG are Cleveland’s first all-female, skater-owned, flat-track derby league.  Saturday night’s two matches pitted the Cleveland Steamers against the Rolling Pin-Ups and the Hellbombers against the Hard Knockers to determine who would be heading to the fourth season finals in July.   

The Cleveland Steamers and Rolling Pin-Ups line up as a jam is about to start.

 

First up were the Cleveland Steamers and the Rolling Pin-Ups.  Going into the match, the Cleveland Steamers were 2-1 for the season – their only defeat at the hands of the Hellbombers in Bout 1. And with the very first jam of Saturday’s match, they seemed to be on the road to another victory.  During the first jam, the Steamers immediately scored 10 points after the Rolling Pin-Ups’ jammer got penalized and was out of the jam.  However, the Pin-Ups – who were 1-2 for the season – staged an early comeback when they racked up 13 points in two jams, bringing the score to 18-15.  By the end of the first half, the score was 28-19 with the Rolling Pin-Ups in the lead.  During the second half, the Rolling Pin-Ups sealed their victory as the unstoppable Punk’d Pixie scored another 9 points on the half’s 1st jam and brought the score to 37-19.  With each jam, the Steamers continued to fall further behind.  Although they worked very hard and ended up with 35 points by the end of the match, the Steamers were no match for the Pin-Ups on Saturday as the score ended 57-35 with the Pin-Ups headed for the Hazard Cup in July.   

Aaron Bonk of HeyBonk.com thrilled the crowd between the 2 BRRG matches.

 

The second match pitted the undefeated Hellbombers against the Hard Knockers who were 0-3 for the season.  Although the Hard Knockers were the first to score – earning 4 points in the first jam, the Hellbombers’ brutal and nimble offense helped them take a decisive lead in the second jam.  Captain Erin Gargiulo from the Hellbombers scored an incredible 14 points in one jam.  The Hellbombers demonstrated that they were dedicated to victory as their jammers swiftly pushed through the pack jam after jam bringing the score to 17-59 by halftime in favor of the Hellbombers.  In the second half, the Hard Knockers tried to rally together in hopes of a victory.  And when the Hard Knockers earned lead jammer three jams in a row, it seemed as if they were making good progress. However, by the end of the match, the Hellbombers defeated the Hard Knockers 117 to 43.  Although it will be the undefeated Hellbombers in next month’s finals, the Hard Knockers deserve praise for their fortitude on Saturday night as they continued to battle hard despite the Hellbombers’ insurmountable lead.   

With these two exciting matches, as well as the thrilling juggling antics of Aaron Bonk of Hey Bonk! fame, the Burning River Roller Girls’ semifinals were an incredible way to end my Saturday.  And considering how close the Rolling Pin-Ups and Hellbombers’ last match was in May, both teams will have their work cut out for them as they prepare for the finals on July 10th.   

    

CHEF JAM 2010   

In addition to 26 local chefs, Chef Jam featured performances by The Rare Birds (pictured), Melange, Evil Eye, Cream of the Crop and guest Todd Rundgren.

 

The staff from Melange serving their George Thoroughgood-inspired ribs, wings and dill pickle popcorn.

 

After Saturday’s marathon of activities, I took it easy on Sunday until that evening’s sold-out Chef Jam.   Chef Jam 2010 was held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to benefit Cleveland Food Rocks and the Rock Hall‘s education programs and promote the city’s talented restaurant industry.      

Featuring 26 of the best chefs in the city, a selection of local bands, and a performance by Todd Rundgren, Chef Jam 2010 satisfied the epicurean in all who attended.   

Scott tries Melange's incredibly tender Watermelon 'Bad to the Bone' Ribs.

 

The Rock Hall buzzed with the sounds of the 1000 attendees who flocked from table to table sampling dishes themed around a different musician. Understanding how theatricality often goes hand-in-hand with great rock-and-roll, a number of the chefs and restaurants’ staffs also dressed the part for their particular theme.  In addition to the Happy Dog – who put together another hot dog masterpiece with their ‘Aint’ Nothing but a Hound’ dogs, my other favorites included Melange’s selection inspired by George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers and Bistro on Lincoln Park’s Allman Brothers dessert. Melange cooked up a tender Watermelon ‘Bad to the Bone’ Ribs, Effervescent Chicken Wings, and an incredible Dill Pickle Popcorn. And Bistro on Lincoln Park featured a grilled ‘Eat a Peach’ peaches with cracked black pepper ice cream.    

The crowd packed the lobby of the Rock Hall to see Cream of the Crop and Todd Lundgren play.

 

As with any good recipe, you need more than just one ingredient to make it a success.  And the live performances coupled with the setting of the Rock Hall were the perfect complement to the featured chefs.  In addition to complimentary tours of the Rock Hall and its exhibits, guests were treated to performances by local bands and the legendary Todd Rundgren.   Melange’s Melange and Happy Dog’s Evil Eye opened up the show.  After that, The Rare Birds performed for the Greenhouse Tavern closing their set out with one of my favorites, She’s Smokin Hot.  Cream of the Crop closed the night with a guest performance by Todd Rundgren. When Steve Schimoler – owner/chef of Crop and founder of Cleveland Food Rocks – was interviewed by The Plain Dealer, he noted how Rundgren performed for free in support of the Rock Hall and Cleveland’s food scene – both of which he’s a fan.  And with the quality of the dishes and performances featured at Chef Jam, it’s no wonder.   

    

*****   

Although it ended up being a couple of whirlwind days, Parade the Circle, the BRRG and Chef Jam were the perfect examples of not just the variety but also the quality of events that can be found in Cleveland any weekend.   

    

Parade the Circle 411:
Event page
Hosted by:
University Circle, Inc. and
Cleveland Museum of Art    

    

Burning River Roller Girls 411:  
Upcoming Bouts
BRRG Teams
‘What is Roller Derby?’ Video
@BurningRiver   

    

Chef Jam 2010 411:
Event Page
Hosted by:
Cleveland Food Rocks and
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame   

With So Much To Do in The Cleve This Weekend, Thank God for DVR

 

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend (6/11 – 6/13), Cleveland’s definitely not lacking in options. Myself, I’ll be running around tomorrow and Sunday – hitting up Parade the Circle, the Burning River Roller Girls’ Semi-Finals, and Chef Jam.

However, there are a variety of other things going on, including a number of community festivals, arts and shopping markets, and even a comic book convention. If you’re a True Blood fan with DVR, be happy you can record the season premiere since there are so many reasons to be out and about this weekend.

Sporting Events

 

Community Festivals

  • Made in the 216: A celebration of artists and culinary masters who have chosen to stay and build their businesses in Cleveland; Fri. – Sat.; Detroit Ave and W65th St.
  • Italian American Summer Festival: Celebrating its 10th year of Italian food, culture and entertainment; Fri. – Sun.; Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea 
  • The Riverfront Irish Festival: The 2nd largest Irish heritage event of the year – topped only by the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade; Fri. – Sun.; Falls River Square in Cuyahoga Falls

 

Arts and Entertainment Festivals:

  • 21st Parade the Circle: Cleveland’s signature summer event and parade; Sat. only; Wade Oval, University Circle
  • Discover Gordon Square Arts District Day: Live Performances, Restaurant Specials, Shopping, and Tours – PLUS, shuttles to and from Parade the Circle; Sat. only; Detroit Ave. between W. 54th and W. 78th Sts.
  • Chef Jam: 24 of the City’s Best Chefs Cook Up Dishes Themed Around Their Favorite Bands, plus Live Music and Rock Hall Tours; Sun. only; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • 2nd Annual Screaming Tiki Con: Comics, Toys, and Pop Culture Convention; Fri. – Sun.; Eastwood Expo Center
  • 5th Annual Crocker Park Fine Art Fair: The Guild of Artists & Artisans transforms Crocker Park into an outdoor art gallery with 130 individual booths; Sat. – Sun.; Crocker Park

Rare Birds, Polka Happy Hour and Hot Dogs This Friday

Located at 5801 Detroit Ave., Happy Dog has mastered the art of the hot dog.

 

Although I’m looking forward to going on vacation, I’m disappointed that I’ll not only miss Saturday’s Sketch Crawl, but also the DJ Kishka Polka Happy Hour AND Rare Birds shows this Friday at The Happy Dog.  

Scott eating a Hot Dog with Potato Chips, Bacon and an Egg

 

The Happy Dog is worth a future blog post all its own for its sheer awesomeness.  Located at 5801 Detroit Ave. in the Gordon Square District, it has truly mastered the art of the hot dog.  Options range from tasty quarter-pound all-beef hot dogs to homemade falafel and Field Roast vegan sausage (for those who would rather go meatless). And although I’m a carnivore at heart, I can attest from personal experience that the falafel is ridiculously good.  However, the choices don’t stop there — as there are over 50 options for toppings.  

With all of the choices, you can mix and match to your indecisive heart’s content.  For the traditionalist, the black truffle honey mustard, sliced gouda cheese and chorizo chili is a great spin on the classic chili dog.  Or you could give yourself a heart attack with Scott’s favorite: potato chips, egg, and bacon.  And of course, for the truly adventurous, there’s always fruit loops, peanut butter and marcella’s grape jelly and chile sauce.  But that’s the best thing about create-your-own hot dogs — it’s completely up to you. Add on any of the 75+ beers they serve, as well as a side of fries or tater tots with their own substantial choice of toppings, and you have the makings for one of the more unique dining experiences in Cleveland.  

In addition to the food, this Friday at Happy Dog is shaping up to be an awesome night of entertainment.  First, from 6-9pm, there’s DJ Kishka‘s Polka Happy Hour. With three hours of polka music, DJ Kishka’s Happy Hour is something I’ve been trying to get to for months without any luck – since the last few times he’s been scheduled to perform, I’ve been unable to go. Nonetheless, everything I’ve heard about him is fantastic. A post on 52 Weeks of Cleveland talks about both DJ Kishka’s show and Clinton J. Holley’s Ohio City Opry (another regular at Happy Dog whose classic country music I have been able to enjoy).  

The Rare Birds - Rusty Boyer, David Leland Horton and Neal Campbell.

 

After polka, Good Touch Bad Touch and The Rare Birds perform from 9 til midnight. The Rare Birds are a local band featuring a friend of mine, Rusty Boyer, on guitar, as well as David Leland Horton on drums and Neal Campbell on guitar. Fans of the group Doctor Teeeth will recognize Rusty and Dave who also perform in that band. With a heavy soul and garage-based sound that’s coupled with layers of harmonized vocals from all three musicians, The Rare Birds are definitely worth checking out on Friday as they perform a couple of Hank Williams and Neil Young covers in addition to their own songs.  

However, for all you Rare Birds fans who are like me and can’t make it to the show on Friday, there’s no cause for alarm since they are also going to be performing on June 13th in the Rock Hall’s Chef Jam. Chef Jam looks to be yet another powerhouse combination of great food and Cleveland music, and I can’t wait until I get back home for it.  

   

The Happy Dog 411:  

The Food
Menu
Drinks
Facebook
@HappyDogCLE  

The Music
DJ Kishka Polka Happy Hour
The Rare Birds  

Roller Derby Provides Bruisingly Good Time

Hellbombers vs. Hard Knockers match on April 3, 2010 - Jammers Eduskater and Check Republic face off. (all photos from facebook.com/BurningRiverRollerGirls)

 

I know that my last couple of posts have been focused on some of the theatre and music that can be experienced in Cleveland. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a soft spot for the arts, and am finishing up my next post which takes a look at John Lithgow’s performance of ‘Stories by Heart’ for the Great Lakes Theater Festival.   

However, in addition to the arts, Cleveland also has ample opportunities for sports fans. Some may say Cleveland fans have it rough since our pro teams haven’t won a national championship in quite a while. I feel, though, that that’s an eternal battle a lot of sports fans go through (growing up an Eagles fan, it’s something I had to come to terms with a long time ago).  If you’re looking for an exciting alternative to pro sports in Cleveland, the Burning River Roller Girls offer up a bruisingly good time in the Spring and Summer.    

During the Steamers vs. Pin-Ups match, the Steamers' jammer gets taken down.

 

The BRRG is Cleveland’s first all-female, skater-owned, flat-track derby league. For those unfamiliar with the sport of roller derby, the Gem City Rollergirls created a 5-minute video that explains how the game is played.    

Cleveland’s league started in 2006 when 40 women met to start a derby group. In November of that year they had their first public appearance – Black and Blue Friday, which has become their annual charity event. Season 1 started in April of 2007 and by the end of the year, the Burning River Roller Girls were accepted as the 50th member league of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.   

Now in its fourth season, the BRRG has four home teams – The Cleveland Steamers, Hard Knockers, Hellbombers and The Rolling Pin-Ups – who compete with one another in five bouts from March to July. Additionally, the BRRG has two travel teams.  The first is the Burning River All-Stars – a WFTDA sanctioned, regionally ranked travel team for whom the best skaters from the BRRG league are selected quarterly. The other travel team – the Burning River Hazmat Team – is the league’s “B” travel team which was formed last season. In addition to the players, the league is rounded out by a support staff of referees, officials, two bout announcers, merch teams and other volunteers.   

The Hard Knockers lining up at the beginning of a jam - Mommy's Little Monster and Skank Williams Sr. up front.

 

The first match Scott and I attended was Bout 3 of the current season which was held on Saturday, May 8 at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center.  It was also their Law & Order Night with discounted tickets for police and military.   

The first game of the bout was between the Hellbombers and Rolling Pin-Ups. Leading up to this match, the Hellbombers had been undefeated, and the fight put up by the Rolling Pin-Ups very nearly ended this run.  With a score of 50-47, the Hellbombers barely pulled out a win.  Punk’d Pixie scored the first 25 points for the Pin-Ups in brutal jams time and time again. And when the Hellbombers’ Stroker Ace mistakenly put her jammer cap on inside out breaking a roller derby rule, she kept them from scoring 10 points. Nonetheless, the Hellbombers pulled out a win and preserved their undefeated record.     

Game 2 was between the Hard Knockers and Cleveland Steamers. In contrast to Game 1 which was a very close call, the second game demonstrated a clear winner very early on with the Steamers racking up 63 points versus the Hard Knockers’ 40.  The Steamers started off with a slight lead however the lead quickly blossomed to the point that the Hard Knockers were unable to stage a comeback.  When the Hard Knockers’ lead jammers kept committing penalties and being placed in the penalty box, the Steamers had multiple opportunities to rack up major points on individual jams and score a devastating win.     

The jammer from the Steamers trying to breakthrough a pack of Pin-Ups players.

 

After watching the teams dominate on the track, the fans could meet the players on the Wolstein’s concourse. For me, one of the best parts of the bout was meeting the teams and seeing that these are ‘regular,’ unassuming women who are confidant and determined to pursue their passion.  It was definitely an encouraging experience.    

On June 12, the BRRG plays its next bout – the season’s semifinals. And on July 10, they play the finals — both bouts at the Wolstein Center.  The next match for the Burning River All-Stars traveling team will be in nearby Pittsburgh to battle the Steel City Derby Demons. The local league’s semifinals and finals will be double-headers, with doors opening at 5pm and bouts starting at 6pm – plenty of time to grab a beer or some cotton candy beforehand.  And for those interested in actually getting on the track, there are plenty of opportunities for both women and men.   

Whether you’re interested in participating or watching, the Burning River Roller Girls are doing an excellent job of demonstrating why roller derby is the fastest growing women’s sport in America and definitely worth checking out.   

    

Burning River Roller Girls 411:   

Upcoming Bouts
BRRG Teams
‘What is Roller Derby?’ Video
@BurningRiver

Local Composers Connect with the Greater Cleveland Flute Society

More information about the GCFS can be found at www.gcfs.org

 

As mentioned in my last post about the Great Lakes Theatre Festival, one of the things I love about Cleveland is the quality of the performing arts that can be found here.   

However, the city also demonstrates excellence in other areas besides theatre.  It not only hosts the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra, but is also home to a number of smaller music societies that provide the community with the opportunity to participate in and experience exquisite performances.  

One of these organizations is the Greater Cleveland Flute Society. Established in 1997, the GCFS works toward furthering an interest in flute music within the local community.   

They achieve this by hosting both performance and educational opportunities including masterclasses and flute chamber ensemble concerts. In addition to local activities, they’ve performed at the Northeast Ohio Flute Association Festival last fall as well as the Chicago Flute Festival.   

One of the Greater Cleveland Flute Society’s most popular local events is the Cleveland Composers Connection Concert, which took place this year on April 25. This particular concert focuses on composers who are local to the Cleveland area.  Starting in the Fall, composers can submit flute compositions to be performed at a concert the following Spring.  This gives both the composers and the GCFS the opportunity to showcase selected compositions to an audience of flutists and flute enthusiasts.  

This year’s event took place at Judson Manor on E 107th St around University Circle.  It featured two programs that showcased works by 8 composers of varying styles and backgrounds. Since the composers were local to Cleveland, they were able to attend the concert, discuss their compositions, and in the case of one composer perform part of it as well.  While I personally don’t have a strong background in flute music, I studied piano for a number of years and really enjoy discovering new music and composers. Subsequently, this was a very exciting opportunity to listen to the composers explain the thought-process behind their pieces.  

Spanish Nights performers with Composer Victoria Belfiglio (from www.gcfs.org)

 

The concert opened and closed with two pieces by Victoria Belfiglio: Processional for Flutes and Spanish Nights. A resident of Shaker Heights, Belfiglio was previously featured in the 2006 Cleveland Composers Connection.  Her Processional was a pleasing piece for a small ceremony such as a wedding or graduation and was written for a flute choir of 2 standard flutes, an alto and a bass flute. It was the first time I had ever listened to a bass flute, so that was a new experience in and of itself.  Her Spanish Nights composition, on the other hand, was written to convey the energy of a hot Spanish night and featured a multitude of other instruments in addition to the flute – including guitars, castanets, tambourine and maracas.  

Loris Chobanian performed Chobanian's Vivo with Bryan Kennard (who later presented his compositions Two Fugues). (from www.gcfs.org)

 

Spanish Nights wasn’t the only piece to incorporate instruments besides the flute. A few of the other pieces I found particularly enjoyable also used guitar and piano as a complement. Among these were pieces by Loris Chobanian and Stephen Griebling.  

A professor of composition and guitar and a composer-in-resident at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory, Loris Chobanian performed the guitar portions of his two compositions Nocturne and Vivo.  Originally, the accompanying flute arrangements were written for the cello. One thing that Chobanian noted about converting the cello portions to flute was accounting for the flutist’s necessity to breathe.  After a few attempts at working it into the composition, he recounted how he decided to just let the individual flutist determine that for themselves.  

Bonnie Svetlik and Madeline Levitz performed Stephen Griebling's Episode on Lake Erie (from www.gcfs.org)

 

Stephen Griebling‘s composition, on the other hand, featured the piano in addition to the flute.  Griebling’s composition was titled Episode on Lake Erie.  A fan of cross-disciplinary art, I found the story behind his piece the most interesting.  The composition was based off a painting that conveyed a ship being tossed around during a tumultuous storm.  With this in mind, listening to how the piano and flute worked together to convey the waves’ movements was one of the concert’s highlights.  Griebling’s background was also interesting. Coming from a family of composers who were named Ohio Musical Family of the Year in 1974, he has a long history of writing music starting at age 17.  However, he has also demonstrated creativity in other fields, holding four patents and recently retiring from the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company where he worked as a tire development engineer.

Cathy Spicer, Lisa Heinrich, and Kimberly Speiran performed William Rayer's Dance Suite (from www.gcfs.org)

 

The Cleveland Composers Connection also featured the world premiere of Dance Suite – a piece by William Rayer.   Rayer, who is a retired music teacher and performs regularly with the Lorain Community Orchestra, first wrote the suite as a study of technique.  However, in working on the movements, they developed into a beautiful piece for a flute trio. The three movements – Dance Mystique, Pavanne and Dance Macabre – were each written to bring a different sound to the suite.   The first movement balanced being both reflective and energetic.  The second movement featured the first flute in a cadenza-like movement, with the second and third flutes supporting with a quiet and plaintive sound.  Finally, Rayer equated the third movement to a chase. Written in a fugal style, it starts out as the most energetic, but at the very end becomes somber and reflective hinting at earlier movements before the chase restarts. My favorite part about the premiere of Dance Suite was that you could see how the performers worked hard and collaborated with the composer to successfully ensure the first impression the piece made conveyed Rayer’s intention.  

Other compositions that were featured included Christopher Lee’s beautifully lilting Skywriting, David Kulma’s contrasting Waxing Rhapsodic and Waxing Fantastic, Bryan Kennard’s aptly titled Two Fugues: DeaFuga and Fyoog, and a moving remembrance of Amy Barlowe’s father in Hebraique Elegie.  

Currently, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society is in the planning stages for next year’s programs.  In September, they’ll host their kickoff meeting and picnic for the new season. Other official events that will follow are the ‘Just Us’ Concert – which is open to the public and features members of the GCFS performing – as well as the call for submissions for next year’s Composers Connection Concert. Outside of these events, members will frequently perform throughout the area playing at local churches such as Lakewood Congregational Church and Shaker Heights’ First Unitarian. More information about upcoming and past events, including photos, can be found on the Greater Cleveland Flute Society’s Facebook page.  

The GCFS is an excellent example of local talent looking to enrich the community through its educational and performance efforts.  And by featuring compositions by Cleveland composers, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society has definitely achieved its mission.  

Greater Cleveland Flute Society 411:
Cleveland Composers Connection Concert
GCFS Facebook Page
How to Join
Photo Gallery of Previous Events

Cleveland Sketch Crawl: Discovering and Drawing the Carnegie West Library

Carnegie West Library Branch

The Carnegie West Library Branch in Ohio City was the location for the April CLE Sketch Crawl

 

 When I was in high school, I spent a sizable chunk of my time buried in a sketch book. I fashioned a makeshift studio out of a corner of my bedroom with an easel and supply cabinet. And instead of posters of musicians or actors, I decorated most of my spaces with prints by my favorite artists.       

Side view of Carnegie West Library Branch

The library is triangular in shape to conform to the outline of the park it's located on

 

In college, though, I fell out of practice because I didn’t make the time to pursue it. I still have the easel, and on occasion I’ve sat down, started something, then eventually given up because I was having problems coming up with subject matter. And while I’ve enjoyed my time spent with other pursuits, there have been moments where I missed the quiet of just working on a sketch for a couple of hours.      

Subsequently, it was a very happy accident when I purchased tickets for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Hidden Cleveland Tour and a link for the Cleveland Sketch Crawl caught my eye. As I quickly learned, the CLE Sketch Crawl is an ongoing series sponsored by the DCA that falls on the first Saturday of the month. A different spot is highlighted each month where the group gathers to learn a little history, then sketch it. And my favorite part … free access to some of the most interesting places in the city.      

Main Room of Carnegie West Branch

The first stop on the tour - the Main Room of the Carnegie West Branch

 

The most recent event was this past Saturday at the Carnegie West branch of the Cleveland Public Library. The Sketch Crawl met at 10 am on the steps of the library, which is located at 1900 Fulton Road. Before we set about sketching, the branch librarian went over the history of the building and gave a behind-the-scenes tour. Carnegie West is both the first branch library in the city (celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year), as well as the largest (28,000 total square feet).        

During the tour, we had the opportunity to see not only the main rooms of the branch, but also the old Dickens room, the former auditorium in the basement, and a handful of other rooms that are generally inaccessible to the public. Although restoration efforts need to be made to some of the rooms, a lot of the original – and beautiful – framing and woodwork is still there. Additionally, we learned about some of the upcoming events at the branch including their Alfred Hitchcock Film Festival (April 8, 15 & 22 at 5:30 pm) and a Jazz concert featuring the Oberlin College Music Conservatory (April 17 at 2:00 pm).      

St. Patrick's Church near the Carnegie West Branch

Other nearby buildings, such as St. Patrick's Church, also provided excellent subject matter for sketching

 

After the tour, we got down to sketching until noon. With its modified Renaissance style of architecture and brick structure with terra cotta trim, the exterior of the library provided ample subject matter for a number of us. However, the park and other nearby structures — such as St. Patrick’s Church on Bridge Avenue — were also interesting.  Even the interior of the library was where some focused their attention — one group member did a beautiful watercolor depiction of the art tiles above the fireplace in the Children’s Room.      

Although this was my first Sketch Crawl, this event series has been taking place since 2007.  Recent crawls have included the Metroparks Zoo’s Rainforest, the old Gospel Press Building, and Tyler Village – former home of the Tyler Elevator Company. And now that the weather is turning warm, the May Sketch Crawl is supposed to be at the Mather/downtown lakefront area.      

Besides getting to explore unusual spots in Cleveland, the Sketch Crawl is worth checking out because it provides a low key venue for people who use a variety of mediums (from pencil, ink, and charcoal to watercolor and photography) and also bring different skill levels (from someone like me – who was 10 years out of practice – to individuals with a finely developed skill). I’m excited to check out the Sketch Crawl in coming months and am pleasantly surprised that my new pursuit of discovering and writing about Cleveland has led me to rediscovering another pursuit I used to enjoy so much.      

Closeup of exterior columns

Beautiful detailing on and around the exterior columns

 

     

CLE Sketch Crawl/Carnegie West Library 411:

Cleveland Sketch Crawl
First Saturday of every month at varying locations
Sponsored by Downtown Cleveland Alliance
@DowntownCLE      

Carnegie West  Branch Library
Location and Hours
Branch Events/Programs

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Bagpipes and drums!

 

It was beautiful, sunny and warmish outside today so I walked down to Superior Ave. on my lunchbreak to check out Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  It started at 1pm and went to 4pm, so I only got to catch a few glimpses of it. But for the short time I was down there, it was a fun time.  Here are a couple of pictures I took with my phone.  

Vintage Cleveland Police Car parked in a No-Parking Spot

 

For anyone unfamiliar with Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, it started back in 1867, and this year marked the city’s 143rd parade and the biggest one yet.  It’s the largest parade in Ohio and one of the larger ones in the country. The route runs down Superior Ave. from E. 18th to Public Square, so if you’re downtown for work or to have some fun on St. Patrick’s Day, definitely stop by.  

Of course, if you were working today and didn’t have a chance to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the parade, there’s a whole day – and night – of festivities.  From downtown to the east- and west-sides, activities abound and a guide can be found at www.cleveland.com/st-patricks-day  

Erin Go Bragh!  

Firefighters/American Legion