Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Cleveland

This mini musing on the interesting and exciting things that happen in, and come from, Cleveland begins at a gallery and ends at a bar. Last week the husband and I went to the 78th Street Studios for Third Fridays. The sprawling repurposed industrial building is a hotbed of creative activity, and tenants throw open their doors to welcome visitors one night, every month. The first thing I noticed when we pulled into the parking lot was the new Touch Supper Truck. It’s hard to miss: The vehicle is garishly painted with cartoonish females and red-orange flames. It’s the mobile side of Touch Supper Club and just rolled out in August. There was a guy performing doing DJ duties so folks chowing down on tacos and sliders had some musical entertainment.

We didn’t stop, too full from an excellent dinner at home and in a hurry to get to an opening at Tregoning and Company, an art gallery. The show, called Spiritus, is a collection of compelling black and white photographs made by Elizabeth Sunday in Africa. (It's up through November and shouldn't be missed.) Though she now lives in California, Sunday was born here and has deep Cleveland roots: Her grandfather Paul B. Travis was a painter who taught at CIA for more than 30 years, and her father, Douglas Phillips, a renowned designer of stained-glass windows, had his studio here. We met James Wyman, curator, gallerist and fine arts consultant, who helped organize the show. He’s recently relocated to Northeast Ohio and is brimming with ideas and energy for the local arts community. No doubt we’ll be hearing more about him.

I ran into someone from my book club at the show. She wanted to know if I’d read The Paris Wife , the new novel by Paula McLain about Ernest Hemingway, his first wife Hadley and the six years they lived together among the literary greats who flocked to Europe in the 1920s. I’d just finished it the night before. We’ll be discussing it at our next gathering, and McLain, who lives in Cleveland Heights, will being joining us.

Next stop was the Velvet Tango Room for a nightcap, and there’s no place in this town, or any other, that better evokes the glamour and style of pre-war watering holes. Coincidentally, the last time I had a cocktail here, it was a Hemingway Daiquiri. The temperature was 40 degrees warmer, and it proved to be just the thing for a sweltering summer evening. This visit, we arrived just minutes ahead of a fill-the-house crowd and snagged the last two seats at the bar. The chill in the air prompted me to order an apple brandy sour. As always, it was perfectly made, the delicate balance of alcohol and acid achieved with just a whisper of sweetness. The husband had the potent Widow’s Kiss. We sat and sipped for a pleasant hour, talked about Sunday’s photographs and went home happy. It was a good night in Cleveland.


James Wyman Fine Art said...

Thank you for the "shout-out," Laura! It was a wonderful evening, made all the more so by meeting you!

Matt Dibble said...

James is a class act, it's great to have him here.

Gina said...

I have been wondering about The Paris Wife. I will have to check it out!