Tag Archives: postaweek2011

The Sunshine Boys at Porthouse Theatre

The Sunshine Boys at Blossom's Porthouse Theatre

Last week, I posted about my first trip to Blossom Music Festival to see the Cleveland Orchestra. I don’t know what took me so long to get out to the summer concert hotspot, but Scott and I tried to make up for lost time by paying it a return visit this past weekend.

In addition to the Orchestra, Blossom is also home to the Porthouse Theatre which is located up the road from the main pavillion.  On Sunday afternoon, we took a leisurely drive to see their production of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys.  

This is the 43rd season of Porthouse Theatre which started after Kent State and The Cleveland Orchestra paired up to develop Blossom Music Center as a comprehensive environment for the arts.  A summer theatre festival, they helm 3 productions on their outdoor stage each season. 

In addition to producing shows, they also support the Porthouse Theatre Academy. Part of Kent State’s School of Theater and Dance, this summer program for high school students and incoming Kent freshmen provides intensive theatre classes and performance experience. 

I’ve got to say, though, my favorite part of their education mission is their ‘Adopt a Student Artist‘ program. For $300, audience members can “adopt” one of the summer interns. I really like this because – in addition to making a financial contribution to the internship program – donors have the opportunity to be a support system for those summer interns that are far from home. 

Donors can take their adopted student artists out to lunch and get to know them throughout the season.  Right after college, I apprenticed at a theatre and can tell you a program like this would have been much appreciated by a lot of my fellow apprentices who were new to the area.

When arriving at Porthouse, brightly-colored umbrellas and trees welcomed us. In addition to the picnic tables, there are gazebos where guests can enjoy a pre-show picnic.

After learning these things about Porthouse, I was excited to visit them for their production of The Sunshine Boys. The same theatre I once apprenticed for used to produce a good deal of Neil Simon so I’ve always had a soft spot for his comedy style. However, up until last week, I hadn’t seen this particular play.

In it, a young agent tries to reunite his elderly uncle Willie Clark with the other half of the vaudeville comedy duo “Lewis and Clark.” Onstage Lewis and Clark were magic; off-stage they couldn’t stand each other and haven’t spoken in over 20 years. When a variety show comes calling, the question is whether the two cantankerous comedians can put aside their differences long enough to perform one last show.

As with other Neil Simon plays, the laughs are paired with an undertone of sentimentality and sadness. In the case of The Sunshine Boys, while you’re laughing at the classic wink-nod style of vaudeville comedy, you’re experiencing Clark’s struggles as he comes to grips with his age and fears of being forgotten.

In particular, I enjoyed how George Roth brought Clark’s infuriatingly hard-headedness to the stage. He not only hit the nail on the head with the script’s ‘bada-bings’ and character’s anger at his former comedy partner (and pretty much everyone else), but also managed to capture Clark’s quieter moments of reflection and resignation.

Marc Moritz played Al Lewis — and while there was a lag in timing once or twice between Roth’s Clark and Moritz’s Lewis, they were still fitting foils for one another. On the surface, Moritz’s Lewis was dapper and well-put-together – wearing impeccably neat suits compared to Clark’s rumpled sports coat thrown over a pair of pajamas. And Moritz was definitely on point with this fastidiousness. Moreover, he subtly sneaks in Lewis’s own struggles dealing with “retirement.” In the end, even if they can’t be friends, the two still manage an uneasy camaraderie.

After a picnic, it's time to meander down to the theatre to enjoy the show.

As with Blossom’s main pavillion, the Porthouse Theatre is an outdoor facility. When it comes to performing in outdoor spaces, there are definite challenges – you don’t have the luxury of house lights to draw the audience immediately into the action. And when there are choruses of birds chirping in the background, the actors’ focus is essential in keeping us engaged. The cast did an excellent job at this – with a bird’s well-timed chirp even lending itself to one of the jokes.  

If you’re looking to take in the great outdoors while you’re there, the grounds open 90 minutes before the show so that guests can leisurely enjoy a picnic in the gazebo or under one of the many brightly colored umbrellas. And you don’t have to worry about bringing your own food, since Porthouse offers a variety of boxed dinners to pre-order and have ready for pick up. 

Sadly, because of my inability to ever leave the house on time, Scott and I didn’t have a chance to get there early enough to enjoy a picnic; however, we did grab a quick soft pretzel during intermission and next time hope to leave early enough to make an afternoon of it.    

In addition to The Sunshine Boys, this summer’s season at Porthouse includes the sold-out Chicago as well as the classic musical comedy Hello Dolly!, which runs July 28 til August 14. Porthouse’s very own Artistic Director Terri Kent will play the famous matchmaker when she returns to the stage after a 13-year hiatus.  Tickets are available here.

Porthouse Theatre 411:

Disclosure: Scott and I were invited to see a show at Porthouse Theatre by a supporter and patron of their theatre program. We chose The Sunshine Boys because of my love for Neil Simon comedies. All opinions in this post are 100% my own.

(Sunshine Boys Photo Source)

Fresh Water Featuring CLE Bloggers

Looking to expand your Cleveland blogger reading list? Check out this week's Fresh Water. (Photo by Bob Perkoski)

After Saturday’s Blogger 5K and Sunday’s Blogger Night at the Orchestra, the past week has been all about discovering and reading new blogs.

The trend continued yesterday when this week’s Fresh Water came out.

Fresh Water is a weekly e-magazine and website that focuses on creative people and organizations who call Cleveland home. Recent articles I’ve enjoyed have included Child’s Play (on Clevelanders who turned childhood hobbies into money), Indie Spirit (on the Cleveland Independents promoting local restaurants) and a spotlight on Paula McLain, the local author who wrote The Paris Wife.

In this week’s Fresh Water, you can check out “They Heart CLE” by Erin O’Brien — featuring a handful of bloggers who are sharing their different perspectives on the city. I’m excited — and a bit flabbergasted — to say Clue Into Cleveland was one of these blogs.

However, this entry is about discovering new bloggers — so enough about me! There were a lot of great blogs featured in the article including:

  • Writes Like She Talks
  • Cleveland SGS
  • Mirandized
  • Cleveland Food and Brews
  • I Rock Cleveland
  • Cleveland Sports Torture
  • Bitter Orange and Brown

Check out the article to learn more about these bloggers and see some excellent photographs from Bob Perkoski.

And while you’re at, visit the Ohio Blogging Association‘s site if you haven’t already. Their directory has over 200 bloggers who write in Ohio — so there’s plenty out there to choose from. And if you don’t know where to start, the Blogger of the Week segment features a different local blogger each week.

While I know this weekend is a crazy one (check out Poise in Parma for an overview of some of the great events going on), find some time soon and discover a new blog!

(Photo source – Fresh Water)

Summers with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom

Blossom Music Center – a perfect way to spend a Sunday evening in summer

After Saturday’s 5K, this past weekend had another “first” for me.  Fortunately, it was a much more leisurely kind of “first” – my first visit to Blossom Music Festival.

On Sunday evening the Cleveland Orchestra had a “Meet the Musicians” night for media and bloggers followed by a concert of Bruckner’s 9th symphony.  Considering how I’ve enjoyed previous Bruckner concerts at Severance Hall, I was not going to miss an opportunity to see the concert and get a backstage look at the Cleveland Orchestra’s summer home.

When Scott and I arrived at Blossom, we skipped the tram and meandered down the path from the parking lot to the stage.  We got there early and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to see the beautiful scenery without a huge crowd surrounding us. 

The “Meet the Musicians” panel discussion featured the Cleveland Orchestra General Manager Gary Ginstling along with Orchestra musicians Franklin Cohen (clarinet), Jung-Min Amy Lee (violin), Stephen Rose (violin), and Paul Yancich (timpani). It was a very casual conversation as each of the musicians discussed their upcoming solo concerto performances this summer, shared stories about their lives as musicians and answered a couple of our questions. 

It was a rare glimpse “behind the music” and I enjoyed seeing a group who is so on point during performances, laughing and at ease.  It reminded me a lot of the Orchestral Manouvres at the Happy Dog (which Amy Lee is also part of). We learned a little bit of everything – from personal stories to music history, insider perspectives on Cleveland’s Orchestra and even a behind-the-scenes look at a new piece being performed in September.

The Meet the Musicians panel featuring (left to right): Orchestra General Manager Gary Ginstling, Stephen Rose (violin), Jung-Min Amy Lee (violin), Franklin Cohen (clarinet), and Paul Yancich (timpani)

From Franklin Cohen, we heard about a fit of giggles at a Carnegie Hall concert he attended as a child that ended with him and his mother having to leave their front row seats. The laughter was caused by an unintentional squeak from the clarinetist that was performing the same piece Cohen will perform in August. When asked if the audience should expect any unexpected sounds from his clarinet, he laughed and promised there would be no squeaks if he can help it.

Amy Lee shared her perspective on how the Cleveland Orchestra differs from other orchestras, describing our orchestra more as a much larger chamber ensemble — an intimate feeling you don’t necessarily find with other orchestras. She added that the wonderful thing about the Orchestra is you get to create something great you can’t necessarily do on your own — one of my favorite sentiments of the evening.

Stephen Rose discussed preparing for a piece like the Bach Violin Concerto he’ll perform in August and how it’s essential to understand the ways the Cleveland Orchestra’s modern instruments and techniques effect a different sound from a piece originally written for baroque period instruments. While it may be a different sound, there’s no need to apologize for it, because each in their own right is a distinctly beautiful style.

And Paul Yancich talked about how growing up with a brother who also plays the timpani (and now is the Atlanta Symphony’s timpanist) led to the commissioning of Dynasty: Double Concerto for Timpani, the piece they will both be playing on September 10th. I personally have a soft spot for the Orchestra’s percussion section, having played the drums growing up. And what I’m most looking forward to with this concert is that the piece is not two competing, clashing timpani sounds (which one might think would happen with the instrument) but a melody of two timpanis complementing and dependent on one another.  

In addition to meeting the musicians, I also got to meet new bloggers and writers, which is always one of my favorite things to do. I was happy to sit and chat with Lincoln in Cleveland (read his two posts on the evening here and here) and Timothy Robson who writes for Cleveland Classical and blogs at Virtual Farm Boy.  Tim shared possibly the most amazing ‘roadtrip to see a concert’ story I’ve ever heard when he told us about taking a trip to Milan to see Lady Gaga.

After the “Meet and Greet,” we took our seats for John Adam’s Violin Concerto. The Cleveland Orchestra invited guest violinist Leila Josefowicz to perform the solo with them. Written in 1993, it’s a contemporary piece filled with wildly melodic sections. Having once noted that “a concerto without a strong melodic statement is hard to imagine,” Adams definitely proves that statement right with the Violin Concerto. 

Leila Josefowicz meets with the group during the Intermission - her reserved demeanor was in sharp contrast to her fittingly hyper performance of John Adam's Violin Concerto

Each of the three movements had its own challenging, distinct sound. quarter note = 78 was a discomforting, eerie piece that often put me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed its interesting contrast to the serene setting of Blossom’s rolling gardens. Chaconne (“Body through which the dream flows”) struck me with a sadness that permeated the movement. During this movement in particular, Josefowicz’s solos really stood out as she was captivating with a performance that was fluid, dynamic and really illustrated the sorrowfulness of it. It was perfectly fitting for the subtitle of the movement as Adams’ dream did indeed flow through Josefowicz. I thought the final movement Toccare was again aptly named if it’s based off of the Italian verb to touch – it was an almost frenzied piece that lifted me up after the first two movements.

Throughout the concerto, the very skilled Josefowicz flowed with the music. If it was a frantic section of music, her entire body weaved and moved with her violin and you could see that she embraced it with her entire body as just another part of her. It was an incredible performance and I imagine it was the type that would lead to complete exhaustion afterwards. However, when the group briefly met with her during the intermission, she was cordial, friendly and didn’t seem the bit tired for what she just went through. The athleticism of musicians always amazes me. 

After intermission, it was time for Bruckner. The Cleveland Orchestra seems to have a love affair with Anton Bruckner, the Romantic composer that wasn’t really a Romantic. And that’s fine by me. I love the onslaught of sound that I’ve heard in previous symphonies composed by him. There’s a dense, aching emotion to it that I personally enjoy. There’s also something to his personality as a composer — indecisive (noted by the many revisions he would make) and humble to a fault — that I’ve always found appealing.

While I know there are definite non-fans of Bruckner for the same reasons I like him, I’m glad the Orchestra tends to play a number of his symphonies. In fact, after Sunday’s concert, the Cleveland Orchestra traveled to the Lincoln Center to present Bruckner: (R)EVOLUTION with performances of Nos. 5, 7, 8 and 9.

Last weekend’s performance was of Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Bruckner’s last symphony and incomplete with only 3 movements. While he began working on the fourth movement, it was never completed with Bruckner working on sketches for the intended finale up until the day of his death.  This was my first time hearing the 9th and it has quickly become my favorite.  Aware that his own death was approaching, the piece reflects a lot of this fear and brooding.  However, in the last moments of the movement, the calmness presents a resolution at the inevitable outcome and really is his “Farewell to Life” as he once described it. 

Anton Bruckner

“Anton Bruckner arrives in Heaven”. Bruckner is greeted by (from left to right): Liszt, Wagner, Schubert, Schumann, Weber, Mozart, Beethoven, Gluck, Haydn, Handel, Bach. (Silhouette drawing by Otto Böhler)

This summer at Blossom is filled with a very diverse program – including BeethovenMendelssohn, Broadway Classics, The Joffrey Ballet‘s return and events like this weekend’s showing of Pirates of the Caribbean with underscoring performed by the Orchestra.  And don’t forget to check out the solo concertos the musicians from the Meet and Greet will be performing this season:

If you’re looking to escape for a full hours to enjoy an evening of music in the open air, a full calendar and tickets can be found here.

Cleveland Orchestra 411:

Disclosures: All photos were taken by me except for the public domain silhouette. Additionally, a guest and I were invited to the Cleveland Orchestra Meet and Greet and concert to learn more about Blossom’s summer season. As always, the opinions in this post are 100% my own.

Run for the Pierogies – Blogger Meetup and My First 5K

"Run for the Pierogies Day" at Cuyahoga Community College's Western Campus.

When I woke up on Saturday, it felt like Christmas morning.  However, the excitement and adrenaline weren’t for unwrapping presents under the tree.  It was raceday – my first 5K.

After Alicia at Poise in Parma announced that July 9th’s Ohio Blogging Meetup would be The Run for the Pierogies, it was the motivator I needed to try running for the first time in ten years.  So, for the last couple of months, I’ve been cluing into getting active in Cleveland

I upgraded my crosstrainers to running shoes (they feel so much better!).  I started walking and jogging around the neighborhood and dedicating part of my weekly personal training sessions at CSU to running on the treadmill and the indoor track.

I knew going into it I wouldn’t wake up one day and suddenly be able to run. When  I started training, I clocked in at 50 minutes and could hardly jog for more than 30 seconds. Although I didn’t want to set a difficult goal for myself, all I knew was that I wanted to at least beat that.

Pierogies - the perfect motivator

Over July 4th weekend, I got my time down to 44 :55 (a personal best). But then two days before – due to a combination of stress and a shoe mishap – I had a horrible run, coming in at 48:30. 

I was discouraged and went into my default mode for dealing with things like this — I started worrying. After some helpful advice and motivation from Alicia, my trainer Sean and Kali at Finishing Firsts, my anxiety faded a bit.  Regardless, though, when I woke up on Saturday, I could feel the nerves. And on the drive out to Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus in Parma, they intensified. 

Once Scott and I got out of the car, I realized it was a lot hotter and more humid than I had expected. The sun was beating down and I started reliving Thursday’s horrible performance in my head. 

Then I saw Alicia, HungryinCLE and WhyCLE’s friendly faces and reminded myself I had come out to Parma to have a good time and hang out/meet some local bloggers.

Hans, Poise in Parma, WhyCLE and me at the start line.

 In addition to Poise in Parma, Hungry in Cleveland and WhyCLE, here’s a rundown of who was there:

Get ready .... get set .... go!

After meeting everyone, we took our places for the race.  Whether it was the distraction of meeting new people or the adrenaline I had been told so much about, my nervousness turned to excitement as we lined up at the starting line. 

When they told us to go, the crowd lurched forward all at once.  I usually start my practice runs with a 5-minute warmup walk, but this was raceday and nothing could stop me from keeping pace.  Well, nothing could stop me for 2 minutes.  Usually I fizzle out after 1 and a half minutes of running but thanks to the adrenaline I pushed myself to 2 minutes straight. 

As I knew I would going into this, I soon fell behind the other bloggers. The heat and the sun were zapping my energy quick. However, I was surprised when I looked at my phone to check my status and realized after a mile I had shaved 4 minutes off of my normal time. Now I just had two more miles to go.

My personal paparazzi (Scott) stalked me down.

The track was a double loop through part of the Tri-C campus and as I was heading back for the second half of the run, the actual runners were starting to arrive at the finish line. Not letting that discourage me, I focused and kept moving, alternating every couple of minutes between walking and jogging.  

I saw a couple of bloggers who had already finished  or were nearing the end and got a boost of motivation from being cheered on.  And when I felt my worst around the 2 mile mark, there was Scott all of a sudden. 

Perfect timing! Scott had apparently camped out near the 2 mile marker for a couple minutes waiting for me to run by.  Seeing him for just a moment was all that I needed for the last stretch. I could finally see the finish line and despite how much my legs were screaming at me and my chest was heaving, I knew I was going to run it in.

As I crossed the line, I looked up at the clock and was floored. 42 minutes and 28 seconds.  A personal best for this non-runner on her first 5K!  

After cooling down, I grabbed a banana and my pierogies. “To the victor belong the spoils” and all that.  The pierogies were cooked up fresh by the Little Polish Diner and Krakow Foods. And if you’re going to run for something, I can’t think of anything better than delicious pierogies!

The finish line! Time to get those pierogies.

I know that if it weren’t for the help and motivation I got from friends and my fellow bloggers, I wouldn’t have been able to do the 5K. The emails, tweets and cheers along the way from everyone listed above and others like @MildlyRelevant and @TheHeldawg  were the best motivation. And Sean Grasso who has been an excellent trainer for the last couple of years helped me re-learn how to actually run and pace myself.

Most importantly, though, thanks to Scott — who put up with my training and cheered me on — especially when he popped up during the race. As usual, that guy has impeccable timing.

Even though I didn’t expect it when I first signed up, this month’s Ohio Blogger Meetup has been my favorite yet. I learned I actually enjoy running. While I know I’m not going to win medals anytime soon, preparing for the race and competing against myself was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to my next 5k on August 6 — the Independence 5K Run/Walk to A Healthier You.

If you’d like to read other bloggers’ recaps of the race and how they did, check out posts from Mollyberries’ Hodge Podge (she placed 2nd out of women — congrats!), Finishing FirstsMojomala2, Poise in Parma, and WhyCLE.

And if you blog — or are thinking about blogging — join us at our next meetup on August 11 when we take in a Cleveland Indians game.

The best cheerleader anyone could ask for.

Gearing Up for NEO Food Tours' Kamm's Corners Market Series with AMP 150 – July 10

Part of NEO Food Tour's new Kamm's Corners market discovery series will include a horse-drawn wagon ride through the historic neighborhood

I don’t think I’ve ever looked more forward to a 3-day weekend than I am this July 4th holiday.  And while it’s partially because I love picnics and July 4th is always full of them, it’s mostly because I need that one extra day to work on my to-do list. 

I looked at my planner this week and July and August are going to be a revolving door of things. That’s not to say I’m not excited. There’s going to be my first 5k (7/9), IngenuityFest’s SpeakEasy 2.0 (7/15), Brick and Mortar Pop-Up with Chris Hodgson (7/11 and 13), a handful of trips to Blossom, roller derby’s season championships (7/16) and friends coming to visit. And of course – all of the blog posts about them!

However, I know that by the time August 18 rolls around, I’m going to be in desperate need of the trip to Virginia I’m taking for my birthday.

So this three-day weekend will give me the time to work on other upcoming stuff before the scheduled craziness begins Tuesday with a trip to see Jersey Boys:

NEO Food Tours

The big project right now is NEO Food Tours. Last Wednesday we wrapped the first Tremont tour and tickets for E 4th on July 20 just went on sale. With three of these signature tours under our belt, we’re expanding our line of tours starting July 10th.

The second Sunday of July is when we kick off our first Market Discovery Tour Series with the Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market Tour featuring AMP 150. It will be an ongoing series from July through October so if you can’t make it July 10, you have three more opportunities to join us on the second Sundays of August, September and October.

Seeing what Todd, Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market and AMP 150 have put together has me really excited not just to help promote the monthly series through community/media outreach, but also because as a food-lover and avid student of Cleveland it sounds like it will be a really unique tour to attend.

Here are a few things you’ll find on the tour (and tell me if this doesn’t get you excited because it has me really pumped):

  • Meet at AMP 150 in the Cleveland Airport Marriott with a mimosa toast (ok, I love AMP 150 and mimosas )
  • From AMP 150, a shuttle will take guests to the Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market (I have wanted to check out Kamm’s Corners for over a year now )
  • At Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market, enjoy a live chef demo and fare from the local market vendors (I’ve always loved our local markets and the idea of a chef demo sounds right up my alley )
  • Horse-drawn wagon from the West Park Historical Society guides the tour through the historic neighborhood (love history and learning about Cleveland’s different neighborhoods )
  • After returning to the Cleveland Airport Marriott, the culinary team at AMP 150 will serve a special fixed menu brunch (did I mention how much I love AMP 150 — so √√ and !)

Plus $5 from every ticket will be donated to Kamm’s Corners Development Corporation.  I know that Todd, myself and everyone at NEO Food Tours feel very strongly about supporting the community and giving back to organizations like KCDC, who have been active in Cleveland for over 30 years.

Check out our Eventbrite page to buy tickets for the Kamm’s Corners Market Tour with AMP 150. Tickets to the July 20 E 4th signature tour are also available on Eventbrite.

Scott and I at this year's Jump Back Ball

Jump Back Ball 2012

In other good (but busy) news, I found out last week that I will be co-chairing Jump Back Ball 2012.

I’ve written before about PlayhouseSquare Partners (if you’re interested in joining, let me know — there are lots of benefits in addition to discounted tickets). Plus, earlier this year I had a great time blogging a first-timer’s guide to Jump Back Ball

So needless to say — I’m honored, excited and admittedly a bit nervous about co-chairing.  Fortunately, because of my co-chair Meredith, all of the other Partners, and the team at PlayhouseSquare, I know that it’ll be a fantastic night of revelry!   More details will be posted soon and throughout the coming months as planning gets underway.

With the months ahead I can’t help but be excited; however, I first need this long weekend to plow through my to-do list. And while I’m at it — take in some beautiful Cleveland fireworks. 

What are your plans for the July 4th weekend?

(photo source)

Time Traveling with Ingenuity Cleveland, Emerging Chefs and PlayhouseSquare

Scott and I finally saw Midnight in Paris last week (which hands down deserves its 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). His mom and sister had been urging me for weeks to see Woody Allen’s latest comedy because like Owen Wilson’s character, I can often be a sucker for nostalgia.

From shopping for vintage clothing and housewares to scooping up a well-priced antique typewriter or gramophone at a yard sale, I get giddy at finding things that hearken a lost generation.

It’s why I’m looking forward to the next couple of months, as a handful of Cleveland events hope to transport guests back in time for an evening:

Ingenuity Cleveland’s SpeakEasy 2.0 

Ingenuity Cleveland’s SpeakEasy 2.0 returns to the Detroit Superior Bridge’s subway tunnels on July 15.

20s and 30s nostalgia get thrown in a blender with the cutting edge innovation that has become a trademark of previous Ingenuity events.

Entertainment will include Vance Music Studio’s Syncopated Sin Swing Jazz Band, neo-vaudeville duo Pinch and Squeal and the Hilar-A-Tease Dancers, while screenings of Louise Brooks’ Pandora’s Box with live jazz, DJs Graydar and Lo_Tek Jackers, and appearances by Uno Lady and Dr. Sketchy add a modern twist to the evening.

Of course there will be food and enough drink to make Zelda Fitzgerald happy.  And it’s all in the subway tunnels. Last year’s IngenuityFest was my first time on that part of the bridge, and I just remember being blown away by how much character that location has as the light and shadows play along the catacombs.

The flexibility of the three ticket levels is a huge win for me:

  • $100 (4 pack available for $350): Doors open at 6pm, include dinner and open bar with live music, entertainment, and dancing until 1 AM
  • $30 ($40 at the door): Party starts at 8 PM with gourmet snacks, more live entertainment, two drink tickets
  • $15 ($20 at the door): At 10 PM the Speakeasy 2.0 goes 21st century by mixing vaudeville entertainment with DJs and dancing. Admission include 2 beer tickets.

All proceeds benefit IngenuityFest 2011 which returns to the bridge Sept. 15-17.  I was disappointed when I couldn’t attend last year’s SpeakEasy, but after Cocktail Party Redux and Temple of Tesla, I’ve been saving July 15 in my calendar for a while.

Buy SpeakEasy 2.0 Tickets Here


Emerging Chefs’ Summer White Party

 UPDATE: Summer White Party has been cancelled. More info here.

After June’s very modern evening of sushi, the next Emerging Chefs will put their tasty spin on classic lakeside soirees with the Summer White Party. Joined by Executive Chef Regan Reik of Pier W, they’ll head down to the historic East Ninth Street Pier to create a spectacular luxury pop-up restaurant for one night only – July 16 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Chef Reik will be designing a menu of summer seafood fare to enjoy on the lake as Emerging Chefs invites guests to sport their special summer whites or yacht clothes (I feel a trip to a vintage store is in order!). The evening will be fitting for the Rockefellers and Hannas of Cleveland’s past as everyone enjoys a luxurious lakeside evening.

Scott and I have been fans of the unique dishes created by previous Emerging Chefs – so much so that we took two of our friends from Philly to Sushi at Sunset. With a swift but efficient change of venue to the Asian Town Center to avoid the rain (huge kudos to Emerging Chefs for getting that up and running in only a few hours), Scott, Ali, Gary and I enjoyed an intimate evening of Chef Daniel Cassano’s creations.

One of Chef Cassano's Sushi at Sunset creations - Japanese style beef tartar over pickled and fried lotus root. The surprising crunchiness of the lotus root was my favorite part of this dish.

Beef Sushi Brochette in a Sake soy beurre blanc reduction and the poached shrimp gazpacho were definite highlights – one for its tender, buttery richness and the other for a bright freshness with pops of scallion. The beurre blanc reduction was so good, we all remarked we could have eaten it on its own with a spoon.

If Chef Reik can play the same magic with seafood that Chef Cassano did with sushi (which I know he can if Pier W’s menu is any indication!), then the Summer White Party will be another dazzling Emerging Chefs event.

Buy Summer White Party Tickets Here


source: Playhousesquare.org

PlayhouseSquare’s Cinema at the Square

Cinema at the Square is back for its 14th year August 4-21.This PlayhouseSquare series holds a special place in my heart because it was at last year’s Back to the Future night that I was introduced to PlayhouseSquare Partners. Having been recently voted onto the Partners Board (more about that excitement later!), I can’t wait to check the classic film series out again because the lineup looks great and the event holds fond memories.

As in previous years, Cinema at the Square will feature 16 film favorites projected on the Palace Theatre’s famous screen (a 20 foot-high by 47 foot-wide super Hurly-Glo projection screen).

The lineup consists of a well-balanced mix of classics like the original King Kong, Grand Hotel and Charade, as well as more modern fare including a double feature of Batman and Batman Returns, Jaws, the 1978 Superman and Muppet Treasure Island.  Check the full list of films here.

Moviegoers will also be treated to pre-show organ recitals on the theatre’s restored 1927 Kimball organ that contains 16 sets of pipes, a xylophone, Glockenspiel, a complete set of drums and cymbals.

Besides the rare opportunity to enjoy classic movies projected on the big screen, the organ concert was definitely one of my favorite parts of last year’s Cinema at the Square.

Buy Cinema at the Square Tickets Here


For a nostalgia junkie like me, these are just a few ways to catch a glimmer of a bygone era without constructing a time travel machine. If you have any suggestions of similar places or events to check out, share them in the comments!

My Guest Post on The Cleveland Sound: Eats and Beats at Rock Hall Chef Jam

I love a good change of pace so I”m happy to share that this week I was featured on The Cleveland Sound with a review of the Rock Hall’s Chef Jam 2011. The write up is a bit different than what I normally do with less of a focus on me and more covering/reporting on the event – it was interesting to get back to that type of writing and I definitely enjoyed it.

The Cleveland Sound was founded by photographer Michael Sawyer with the idea of “Showcasing Music, Art, and Culture in Northeast Ohio.” You can find reviews, interviews and information about upcoming concerts and events.

In addition to Sawyer’s photography (which can be seen in the Chef Jam post and throughout the website), the site features contributions from Pete Roche and Bob Ignizio (whose writing you can also find on The Cleveland Movie Blog).  

Chef Jam 2011 was an amazing night and I’m happy to have shared the experience on The Cleveland Sound.  I hope you’ll check out Eats and Beats at Rock Hall ‘Chef Jam’ and enjoy Michael’s amazing photography of the food and personalities that were there that night.

Thanks again to Michael for offering me another outlet to contribute to!

photo credit Michael Sawyer

(source for logo and photo)

The Chubby Cook Opens in Beachwood, Ohio

The Chubby Cook (3365 Richmond Road #225, Beachwood) offers grab-and-go lunches, catering and cooking classes

I headed out to my old Eastside stomping grounds this week to try a new food concept from Scott Groth – The Chubby Cook in Beachwood.

What started as a popular food blog featuring Scott’s photographs, reviews and recipes has transformed into a brick and mortar establishment for grab-and-go lunches, catering and recreational cooking classes.  Located at 3365 Richmond Road, Suite #225 in Beachwood, tucked away near Moxie’s and Hiroshi’s Pub, The Chubby Cook’s new kitchen is fully stocked, staffed and ready to go.

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find when you head over there:

At The Chubby Cook's opening party, they put out a huge sampling of what you can get there including their awesome 'blt' tomato poppers, hummus, meats and cheeses.

Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch

Fresh juice and green lemonade every day, breakfast options coming soon, and a daily salad and sandwich option with an assortment of sides and desserts is what you can expect when you stop by their store. Like The Chubby Cook on Facebook or follow @TheChubbyCook to keep track of their daily specials.

Today’s sandwich (6/17): Pulled Pork Friday featuring a brioche bun, pulled pork, BBQ sauce and Carolina Coleslaw. They’re also dishing their Southwestern Salad with a Chipotle Vinaigrette.

Fresh, high-quality ingredients like those found in these salad cups are found in all of The Chubby Cook's 'Out-of-the-Box' catered lunches.


Scott and his team will bring their fantastic food to you. Their “Outside the Box” Lunches offer the same high-quality, seasonal ingredients you’ll find in their Grab and Go lunches — very much unlike what you think of when you get a boxed lunch.

And don’t let the name fool you, The Chubby Cook places a huge emphasis on healthy food using organic and local whenever possible. While at their grand opening, I talked with the team about alternatives for vegans, vegetarians and individuals who are gluten-intolerant — and The Chubby Cook will be cooking up a variety of options for these often-under-served markets as well.

The Chubby Cook's clean, organized and nicely-sized kitchen will play host to their cooking classes.

Cooking Classes

Starting this Summer, The Chubby Cook will present a series of recreational cooking classes in their commercial kitchen. Their motto is “Everyone cooks everything” – meaning, they not only offer programming for students of all levels, but each student will have an indepth experience cooking the entire dish.

The smaller curriculum for each class means you’ll walk away fully understanding the techniques and science behind what you just cooked. Upcoming classes including a pizza and flatbread workshop, grilling classes and a knife skills class where they also offer knife sharpening by Master Tradesmen.  I have zero confidence when it comes to cooking — so the last one is probably where I’ll be starting.

The winner for the evening: The Chubby Cook's homemade lemon ice cream with blueberry on top.

At this week’s grand opening, we got a taste of what The Chubby Cook will be offering. Large sandwiches with crisp bread and delicious meats and cheese, stuffed ‘blt’ tomato poppers, and a fresh salad with crisp noodles and a tasty dressing were some of my favorites. (By the way, if anyone knows what was in the dressing, please tell me — it was so good and I forgot to ask!)

However, the winner was Scott’s homemade lemon ice cream.  You typically find lemon ice or sorbet, but Scott switched up how he prepared the custard and other ingredients resulting in a truly creamy, lemon dream. Plus he placed fresh blueberry syrup on top. Now that he has a recipe he likes (and who wouldn’t like it – it’s good!), he plans on doing the same with other fruits like lime and maybe orange.

Although Beachwood is a little bit of a drive for me from the westside (lucky, Eastsiders!), a car ride is always justified when it’s for good food. And The Chubby Cook has plenty of it!

The Chubby Cook 411:

Clue Into Being Active in CLE

HermesCleveland.com offers way to get active in Cleveland

By no stretch of the imagination am I an athlete. If you’ve been following this blog even for a short while, you’ll know my huge loves are food and the arts. And although I enjoy watching sports, I don’t often participate in them.

A huge reason for this is that I’m just not that good at it.  Combined with the fact that I can be overly competitive, I tend to beat myself up when I don’t do well and end up not having a good time.

Despite this, though, I’ve recently started pushing myself to be more active. It started by joining Hungry in CLE‘s kickball team For Whom the Ball Rolls.  Part of the Hermes Sports and Social league, we meet every Tuesday at Tremont’s Clark Field to play kickball.  And it’s a lot of fun (even if I am too hard on myself)!

I haven’t played kickball since grade school and have quickly realized how little I remember of the game.  But I’m learning, and even if I still can’t figure out how to kick the ball so that it’s not a pop-up out, I’ll get there eventually.  In addition to Hungry in CLE, fellow bloggers @MildlyRelevant and Why CLE? are on the team.

Thanks to OH Blogging Association, I'm running my first 5K on July 9th

I can also thank blogging for introducing me to the other sports activity I’m undertaking this summer.

When Poise in Parma announced that July 9th’s Ohio Blogging Meet up would be The Run for the Pierogies, I initially planned on cheering everyone on and meeting up for brunch after the race. The last time I participated in any sort of running (and I use the term loosely) was over ten years ago.  And even then, I grudgingly walked it as part of the mandatory fitness tests in high school.

However, another one of the great things about the Ohio Blogging Association is being able to learn from other bloggers’ stories and take motivation from what has motivated them.

After these bloggers – Poise in Parma, Healthy Heddleston, WhyCLE, HungryinCLE, Finishing Firsts, A Slice of Kiwi, Mojamala2 – shared their experiences about running or getting fit (whether it was ten years or just a few months ago), I realized I could stop joking about my lack of athleticism and lace up my sneakers at the Run for the Pierogies.

And if nothing else, there is the promise of pierogies at the end of it.


For once, though, I’m not setting a lofty goal.  I want to have fun while doing this and figure if I push myself too hard, I’m going to discourage myself from doing it at all.  So after clocking myself walking a 5K at a little over 50 minutes, I’m hoping to end up somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes.

Between getting winded quickly, the shin splints and hamstring strain, I’m taking it slow and confess it’ll be more of a “Speed Walk for the Pierogies” than anything else.  But it’s ok. I’m having fun and looking ahead to future 5Ks.

If you’re likewise trying to find small ways you can get more active in Cleveland, check out Hermes’ Cleveland Sports and Social activities. They offer leagues throughout the year, including volleyball, bowling, softball and skeeball.

You can also join me at the Run for the Pierogies in Parma on July 9th (a Hermes Road Racing event). There is a 1 mile and a 5k option.  Registration is $20 each and benefits the American Cancer Society Parma Area Relay for Life. The American Cancer Society is an organization that’s personally close to my heart, so I’m glad my first 5K is going to support it.

Since I’ve needed to kick myself into gear, I’ve found that Active.com and Cool Running’s Couch to 5K program are excellent resources for training.  Although I’ve had to modify some of Couch to 5K’s tips because I’m ridiculously out of shape and have a shorter time frame for my training, I’m planning to continue working on this after the 5K is over.

Have your own suggestions for how to get more active in Cleveland, including any 5Ks after July 9th you’d like to recommend?

Share them in the comments section below!

(Images from HermesCleveland.com, OHBlogging.com and Facebook.com/OHBlogging, respectively)

WhyCLE Challenge Wrap-Up

WhyCLE Reason #29: The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo! To celebrate the new elephants exhibit, a duck tape elephant sculpture welcomes guests at the entrance.

At the beginning of May, I set off on CLEGal’s WhyCLE? Challenge to identify one positive thing I love about Cleveland every day.

Everyone who participated could share their reasons any way they wanted so I decided to tweet my daily reason and then write a recap each week on Clue Into CLE.

How did the WhyCLE Challenge go for me? Well, you can read the recaps of reasons 1-20 here:

And here are reasons 21-31 of why I love Cleveland taken from the last week’s Twitter stream:

#WhyCLE Reason 21: @NUFarmersMarket! Loved stopping by Shaker Square yesterday – the Judy’s Oasis hoomus I picked up was delicious.

#WhyCLE Reason 22: Enjoying @e4thst on a sunny day. Heading over to @thegreenhouse for their Rooftop Patio Party. http://ow.ly/57t3T

#WhyCLE Reason 23: Celebrating my 5 yr anniversary at @PRNewswire. Thankful everyday this led to me moving here and being #happyinCLE!

#WhyCLE Reason 24: Getting outdoors and playing kickball tonight w/ @HungryInCLE @MildlyRelevant & @ScottHicken!

#WhyCLE Reason 25: Opportunities to get more involved w/ #clefood scene. Looking forward to mtg w/rest of @NEOFoodTours team later. http://ow.ly/57t7j

#WhyCLE Reason 26: Being able to learn about a city in unique ways such as @engagecsu’s Cleveland Historical 2.0 app http://ow.ly/53VGU

#WhyCLE Reason 27: Daytrips to #CLE’s outer suburbs like Chagrin Falls. Enjoyed seeing the falls w/Scott and his dad. http://t.co/5wIqtpZ

#WhyCLE reason 28: @HappyDogCLE on a Sunday afternoon … or any day of the week! http://ow.ly/57uGN

#WhyCLE Reason 29: Spending day at @clemetzoo – yesterday’s highlights: lemurs, wallabies & of course the elephants! http://ow.ly/i/cg4n

#WhyCLE Reason 30: @Ingenuityfest bridging #CLE’s science & art communities w/events like Temple of Tesla http://ow.ly/56pmO

#WhyCLE Reason 31: Close proximity to Lake Erie’s shores and islands. Kelleys Island was so much fun today! http://ow.ly/56tzv

So now that it’s June 1st, what did I learn from CLEGal’s May challenge? I think it helped me realize that even on a rainy, gloomy day (and there were plenty of those in May if my basement was any indication!), there’s always something to love about Cleveland. Whether it’s a variety of places and events to enjoy or the chance to get involved in the community, boredom is never a problem and it’s easy to find fun or help out.

Although the WhyCLE? Challenge has come to an end, you can discover more reasons to clue into Cleveland on my blog, as well as on WhyCLE and many of the other blogs in the Ohio Blogging Association.

And after reading my reasons for why I love Cleveland, feel free to share your own in the comments section below!