Sunday, April 19, 2015

Five Epic Moments From the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony

Whether it was boldly paving the way for an entire genre or opening the doors for equality in race and gender, rock ‘n’ roll would not be what it is today without the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. The honorees joined more than six decades of music’s greatest icons at Public Hall Saturday for an epic celebration. As Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong said of the crowd, “It’s like my record collection is actually sitting in this room.” Inductees included Ringo Starr, the “5” Royales, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and Bill Withers. From a misty-eyed tribute to the late Reed to the hysterical jokes of Withers to a monumental all-star jam led by Starr here are highlights from the ceremony that will air May 30 on HBO.

Joan Jett
Joan Jett Feels Accepted

So Miley Cyrus grabbed attention when she started inducting Joan Jett by saying that she wanted to have sex with her, dropped a ton of F-bombs and told a story about smoking pot in a hotel bathroom with Jett before taping Oprah together. But when the leather jacketed, striped pant-donning Jett took the stage, she received a standing ovation that sent tears streaming out of her black-lined eyes. “I was trying to not bawl because people just did not think girls could play rock ‘n’ roll,” she later said. “You know the all the nasty things that were said to us went on for years and years. … So to see that whole place standing up like that was like acceptance and it was very moving.”

Jimmie Vaughan and Double Trouble
An Electrifying Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan

“The ultimate guitar hero” is how John Mayer views the late Vaughan. While he was inducting him, he acknowledged that Vaughan saved his life by stressing the importance of staying clean from drugs and alcohol. The Texas blues guitarist got a blazing tribute with “Pride and Joy and “Texas Flood” performed by his brother Jimmie, Mayer, Gary Clark Jr. and Doyle Bramhall II replete with soaring guitar solos. Jimmie closed out the set with a send-up he wrote fro his brother, “Six Strings Down.” 

Laurie Anderson Remembers Lou Reed

“Lou, Lou, Lou” floated through the air as Laurie Anderson delivered the most emotional speech of the night about her husband who passed in 2013. While still reeling from the loss of the alternative pioneer, she took great comfort in knowing that his name lives on for an eternity through the Hall of Fame. “He’s here with his heroes Otis and Dion. He’s here with B.B. King, who he loved and admired. Aretha, who he saw so many times. His dear friend Doc Pomus.” She left the audience with a heartfelt rundown of Reed’s rules to live by: don’t be afraid of anyone, get a really good bullshit detector and be really tender.

Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder

Bill Withers Tells Spunky Jokes

The 76-year-old R&B singer-songwriter who’s been out of the spotlight for nearly 30 years showed off his sprightly charisma by going off the teleprompter and musing on random-fire topics from Yoko Ono’s hat to his adoration for Judge Judy. “I’m honored to be this year’s youngest living solo performer inductee. Who else came here with a Legend and a Wonder?” he quipped. But he wasn’t all funny business. After a 25-year hiatus from performing, Withers surprisingly took the stage to join Stevie Wonder and John Legend for a gospel-laced “Lean on Me” rendition that brought the audience to its feet.

Joe Walsh and Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr Shouts Out to Cleveland

Our city shaped Ringo Starr. Let that one sink in. “I got lucky that it’s actually in Cleveland,” said the last of the four Beatles to be inducted as a solo artist. Starr talked about listening to Alan Freed’s broadcasts from Cleveland while growing up in Liverpool, England. “That’s where we heard rock ‘n’ roll music,” he recalled. He repaid us with leading the night's best performances, all-star jams of “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “I Wanna Be Your Man”  that solidifies this class' standing amongst legends.

Photos by Jennifer Keirn

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Beers, Brats and Baseball

The first day of spring in Cleveland isn't on the equinox, it's on the day of the Indians home opener. We all know that baseball is better when it's washed down with a few draughts and a dog, so Hofbrauhaus Cleveland is stepping up to the plate.

This Thursday at 6:30 p.m., former Indians player and 1980 Rookie of the Year Joe Charboneau will tap a keg of the German beer hall's monthly brew, a Pilsner that's still made using an original recipe from Munich. The party is free and includes polka music by the Chardon Polka Band.

The next evening, on Friday, April 10, baseball fans can pregame at Hofbrauhaus in the new outdoor beer garden, which seats 1,000 and includes a walk-up pavilion to purchase beer and brats. Twenty bucks buys you a liter of beer, a brat meal with sauerkraut and potato salad, plus shuttle service to and from Progressive Field (shuttles leave every 15 minutes, starting at 2:30 p.m. before the game and resuming again from the eighth inning to 90 minutes after the game).

Tickets are available from Hope you bought your tickets early, because Indians tickets not included, and the game is long sold out. But hey, that means more beer for you while you watch the action on the main beer hall's four big-screen TVs.

A Call To Cleveland: Artist Michael Rakowitz Wants Your Orange Objects

Artist Michael Rakowitz proposes that Clevelanders remove orange from their lives.

In the wake of the tragic police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Clevelanders have been left with the burning question: What do we do now?

Michael Rakowitz, an artist known for bridging art with political activism through social experiments and a Northwestern University professor, is proposing a grand solution — that Clevelanders rid themselves of the color orange as a statement on the loss of safety. The removal of orange mimics the absent orange safety cap from the fake gun Rice had at the time of the shooting last fall.

"A color removed will challenge the city of Cleveland to have a wide range of uncomfortable discussions on race and violence in a city where people of color do not feel safe," said Rakowitz during a talk at Case Western Reserve University Tuesday night. 

The lecture was a discussion of art as activism and a public brainstorming session for this upcoming art project that would potentially remove orange from the city. Rakowitz is internationally known for controversial public artworks including an Iraqi meal served on plates once owned by Saddam Hussein and homeless shelters made from garbage bags and tape. 

One suggestion to remove orange is to activate spaces throughout the city — art galleries, restaurants, storefronts and community centers — that would act as repositories where citizens can donate orange objects to be displayed. Loren Naji has already signed on to have his Satellite Gallery on the East Side be one such repository, where he'll either donate a room to the project or set up an exhibit in the front yard.

Other options include painting orange traffic cones blue, replacing orange safety vests with yellow ones and having the Cleveland Cavaliers play with different-colored basketballs during their games — after all, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving sported "I Can't Breathe" shirts in December to stand in solidarity with New York police shooting victim Eric Garner.

"At the heart of this project is a question: How does it feel to live in a society where the right to safety is removed?" asks Rakowitz, who plans to meet with city officials in the coming months to jump-start this project that does not have an end date. "If we're talking about the absence of color, let's take it to the next step and actually make a grand gesture about redacting the color of orange and redacting safety from Cleveland as a whole as an act of solidarity."

Friday, April 3, 2015

Downtown Farmers Market on Pause

There's a little less to be thankful for on Fridays now that the Downtown Cleveland Alliance suspended the Downtown Farmers Market, a Public Square fixture that gained a boost in visibility last year after a $10,000 grant from St. Vincent's Charity Medical Center.

"We have decided to close for 2015 and rebrand it and jazz it up," says Heather Holmes, director of marketing and public relations for Downtown Cleveland Alliance, "make it a huge and exciting thing for the summer to activate Public Square."

Vendors were notified at the last market on March 27 and according to Holmes, the organization is working with other markets to help place any vendor who experiences difficulty securing space at another venue.

"We've only had a few reach back out. [They're] disappointed and sad, obviously, and I'm circling back to let them vent their frustration," Holmes says. "I'm starting to make calls to some other markets to see if they can make any concessions and bring them on board at least for this year."

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance explored the option of continuing to host the market at its winter location along Euclid Avenue at the 5th Street Arcades. But due to the congestion of the Public Square construction and the road resurfacing projects slated to begin next week, they worried that delivery trucks and additional foot traffic would clog an already-overtaxed Euclid Avenue.

"We really want to give this the love and attention and the spotlight it deserves, and we think it's better to just hold off right now and relaunch when Public Square opens back up in 2016," says Holmes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hop to It: Easter Meals to Try

Step away from the stove. You deserve a holiday off kitchen duty. So taste something new at one of these culinary Easter meals that put a new twist on the standard ham and green beans fare.


1890 Restaurant
420 Superior Ave., East, Cleveland,, 216-776-4576,  $35, children under 12 $15, 10 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Here, you can toast Easter Sunday with a glass of Champagne. Partake in the pecan- and maple-glazed smoked ham carving station, and save room for a dessert buffet. But if you’re cutting back on calories, try the farmers market options including Amish cheese boards. Reserve your seat online or call ahead.

InterContinental Hotel Cleveland
North Coast Cafe and Table 45, 9801 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland, 216-707-4045,,, $50, children 6-10 $21, 11 a.m. -3 p.m.
A complimentary children’s egg hunt and mimosas make this brunch a no-brainer. Chefs Klaus Happel and Donna Chriszt offer a twists on favorite world cuisine dishes. Savor your gourmet brunch to the sounds of the Cleveland Institute of Music jazz trio.

Pickwick & Frolic
2035 E. Fourth St., Cleveland 216-241-7425, $34.95, children 3 and under free, 10:3 0a.m.-4 p.m.
With the Easter bunny hopping over to East Fourth Street for photo ops, your kiddies will love this one. Plus the more than 50 artfully prepared dishes will please parents too.

Sans Souci
24 Public Square, Cleveland, 216-902-4095,, 6 -10 a.m. breakfast buffet, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. full buffet
Moms, chef Michael Harp has got this one covered. An upscale carving station offers smoked espresso-crusted leg of lamb with quinoa and kale salad, and strawberry and black pepper nectar. Desserts include a crème brulee cheesecake and triple chocolate mousse. Reservations suggested.

The Spread Buffet
100 Public Square Cleveland, 216-297-4777,, Total Rewards members $29.99, non-member, $31.99, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Go global with cultural dishes from Italian and Asian stations that will make you feel like your taste buds hit the jackpot. There’s no need to make tough choices here; so sample it all from corned beef hash to Mongolian beef to spring vegetable risotto.

Urban Farmer
1325 E. Sixth St., Cleveland 216-771-7707,, $46, children under 12 $19, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
The focus here is farm fresh and build your own. Try organic carved meats and omelets or get creative at the waffle bar or eggs Benedict bar. Wash it all down a concoction from the bloody mary bar. Reservations recommended.


100th Bomb Group
20920 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, 216-267-1010,, $40.95, $19.95, 9:30 a.m -4:30 p.m.
Take in historic memorabilia along with a view of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport runway while sipping Champagne and indulging in gourmet delights from Easter kielbasa to seafood Norwegian pasta. The Easter bunny is expected to make an appearance. 


34205 Chagrin Blvd., Moreland Hills, 216-464-3700,, $11-16, 10:30a.m. -3 p.m.
Bottomless mimosas will help deal with the inevitable family drama while a la carte eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits, and breakfast paninis will satisfy your tummy.

3355 Richmond Road, Beachwood, 216-831-5599,, $34.50, children 4-12, $17.50, children 3 and under are free, 10:30a.m. -2:30p.m.
Traditional dishes get elevated here with options such as chef-carved ginger- and brown sugar-glazed ham, chef-carved black pepper- and herb roasted-prime rib with au jus and horseradish, and creme fraiche. Carrot cake and lemon pound cake with mixed berry compote make for a sweet ending.

Valenti’s Ristorante 
3365 Richmond Road, Suite 130, 216-464-4665,, $32.50, children 4-12 $16, 11:30 a.m.- 6 p.m., last seating at 4:45p.m. 
Taste unique culinary offerings such as blueberry sausage along with options from the carving station and antipasti station. Plus, if you are in the mood for Italian, chicken picatta is on the menu.


One Red Door
49 Village Way, Hudson, 330-342-3667,, 10 a.m. -3 p.m.
Lemon ricotta pancakes, breakfast pizza and house-made sausage provide a sweet and savory start to your holiday. The a la carte brunch goes beyond a.m. fare with pizzas, sandwiches and salads, but it also offers the most important element to a morning meal out: a make-your-own bloody mary bar.

Additional reporting by Aziza Doleh

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dinner Lab Cleveland Launch

Sure, Cleveland has a lot of fresh restaurants, which means plenty of new places for you to try. But none may be more experimental and unexpected than Dinner Lab, a new membership-based service that regularly plants pop-up restaurants throughout the city beginning in July. (A formal announcement will happen later today.)

Dinner Lab, a nomadic restaurant group founded in New Orleans just a couple of years ago, offers guest chefs the freedom to get beyond their menus and cook whatever inspires them. Diners at these semi-exclusive events reap the benefits.

"[The chefs] don’t have any rules, they can do whatever they enjoy doing and cook what they enjoy cooking," says Dinner Lab's director of human resources, Hallie Dietsch, a New Orleans resident but Shaker Heights native.


"We’re really looking at cities where there is an active food culture ... where the people there are engaged, adventurous, eager to try new things and there’s also a lot of talent there," she says. "Every time we talked about expansion I would always chime in. ... I would say, 'And what about Cleveland?'"

Here's how it works: Sign up for a membership ($125 annually), which gives you access to Dinner Lab's calendar. When you see one you like, purchase up to four tickets to that evening's event (typically $50-60, but sometimes as high as $90). You get a multicourse meal — usually between five and seven courses — a welcome cocktail, select wine or cocktail pairings throughout the meal and unlimited beer and wine pours while you eat. Yes, unlimited.

About half of Dinner Lab's guest chefs will be from Northeast Ohio; the rest will come from other Dinner Lab cities such as Chicago, San Francisco, Austin and Nashville, exposing locals to even more new flavors and fresh talent. If you're a traveler, your Cleveland membership will get you into dinners in other cities as well (32 other cities have a Dinner Lab presence as of today).

Copyright Ryan Green/

The first event will be July 24 (location TBD). Chef Daniel Espinoza's modern Mexican menu is five courses and includes ingredients and flavors such as chorizo, tomatillo and orange; carnitas toastadas; fried chicken with cilantro grits and pickled carrots; mahi mahi with mole verde; and a rhubarb flan.

There are a limited number of memberships available in the first few months of Dinner Lab's Cleveland launch, so don't wait to sign up. Look for updates on Twitter @Dinnerlab or with the hashtag "#dinnerlab."

Friday, March 27, 2015

CIFF: 'Dreamcatcher' Provides Hope for Those Affected by the Sex Industry

Photo courtesy of Dreamcatcher
Brenda Myers-Powell spends late nights cruising Chicago streets in her Dreamcatcher Foundation van, looking for prostitutes in need of condoms. Her goal is to have a conversation with the girls and let them know there is another way — and she can help if they are ready. Why does she do this? Myers-Powell spent 25 years a prostitute. Now, she pours every once of herself not reserved for her family into her Dreamcatcher girls, who she also helps through an after-school program for those at-risk.

The film is a raw depiction of the prostitution, human trafficking and sex abuse that is sad, ongoing reality. Girl after girl comes forward with horrifying stories of getting shot, stabbed and raped. Some girls were even molested as young as 4 years old. Some followed their mothers into prostitution. For others, prostitution was the only constant in their life. Myers-Powell helps with necessities such as drug recovery but really becomes the voice of reason for these girls — the first phone call when a crisis arises.

Perhaps one of the film's most tender moments occurs when the usually boisterous Myers-Powell admits in an all-too-rare aside that she is terrified of what is to become of her girls while she has knee surgery and is still tormented by the weight of her time on the street. These gracefully handled intense moments helped earn director Kim Longinotto a World Cinema Directing Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Dreamcatcher breaks the painful cycle of abuse and finally shows the girls — and us — that hope can change your life.

See Dreamcatcher at 4:30 p.m. today, March 27, at Tower City Cinemas. The Cleveland International Film Festival runs through March 29. For a full list of films, visit