Tag Archives: music

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  

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 Rocks at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Cleveland Rocks at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (photo by STH)

 

Since this is a blog about where to go when visiting Cleveland, I’m going to start with one of the first places that comes to mind when someone mentions Cleveland:  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   

The first time I visited the Rock Hall was for a holiday party at work. Having recently moved here at the time, dining and perusing the exhibits afterhours was a pretty enjoyable way to spend an evening. Since then, I’ve been back a handful of times when friends have come to town wanting to check out a Cleveland icon.   

Birthplace of Rock 'N' Roll (photo by STH)

 

The Rock Hall is hard to miss.  A glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, it’s one of the most eye-catching buildings downtown lining the Lake Erie coast.  In 1995, it opened its doors to the public. With seven floors of exhibition space, it’s easy to get lost in there for hours.  Considering the role Cleveland played in the history of rock and roll (it’s where the term was first coined and popularized by Alan Freed), it’s no wonder that the Rock Hall makes its home here.   

At the core of the museum are 18 permanent exhibits that each give a unique perspective on the history of rock and roll. Some of the exhibits highlight the careers of past and current legends including Michael Jackson, Les Paul, U2, and Jimi Hendrix. Another exhibit traces the development of pivotal music scenes through the decades — from Memphis and Detroit to Liverpool, San Francisco, LA, New York, London and Seattle. And for those interested in local music, the Hang on Sloopy exhibit examines the music of Ohio.     

In addition to the permanent installations, the Rock Hall is constantly developing temporary exhibits to spotlight various artists and themes. If you’re a Bruce fan, the 5th and 6th floors of the museum are currently dedicated to From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen until the end of 2010.    And after the phenomenal photography exhibit Live from Madison Square Garden: From the Lens of George Kalinsky closes on March 14, an exhibit celebrating 35 years of Austin City Limits will open from March 20 to September 6.    

Of course, no visit to the museum would be complete without stopping by the actual Hall of Inductees. A theatre in the Hall houses a multimedia production about the inductees, and a walkway travels along a series of glass panels etched with their signatures leading you to artifacts from the current class. A game Scott and I enjoy playing when we’re in the Hall of Inductees is picking out which panel we’d take home with us based on the signatures etched on each one (if I could, I’d claim the panel featuring Roy Orbison).  When the Class of 2010 is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, the Rock Hall will host an Induction Ceremony Watch Party with tickets on sale for $5.   

My personal favorite part of the museum, however, is the Alan Freed Radio Station housed on premises.  Not only can you listen in on a live broadcast while hanging out in the museum’s courtyard, but you can also visit the studio on the upper floors and watch the show unfold right in front of you. It’s this behind-the-scenes look that makes the Radio Station one of my favorite features of the museum.   

With all of these things to see at the Rock Hall, it’s no wonder it’s such an iconic part of the city.   

    

Rock Hall 411:   

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
(East Ninth Street at Lake Erie)   

Hours, Admission and Directions   

Twitter: @Rock_Hall