Friday, September 28, 2012

Uptown development opens with ribbon-cutting spectacle

As rush hour traffic bustled down Euclid last night, a man and woman clad from head to toe in blue spandex danced in fluid, slow motions atop black pedestals. They marked the entrance to the dedication and grand opening of a new home for restaurants and shops in University Circle, Uptown and Toby’s Plaza at Case Western Reserve University. In blue sweaters, suits and even berets, supporters of the project flowed into the event. Inside, blue lasers danced across the ceiling as servers circulated with neon blue beverages and hors d'oeuvres.

Amidst party-goers was Alan Glazen, part owner of ABC the Tavern in Ohio City and the new ABC in Uptown. “We’re neighborhood people," he said of himself and his partners. "We think this is a fine neighborhood and we want to serve the people in it.”

Major drivers of the development sat on a stage at the front of the tent. Among those were Ari Maron of MRN Ltd; CWRU president Barbara Snyder; Toby Devan Lewis, previous curator of Progressive Corporation's art collection and the plaza's namesake.

Mayor Frank Jackson put the excitement and work of those around him into words. “The best plan is the one you’re doing," he said. "Anything else is just a good conversation. Cleveland is in the process of executing plans, not just talking about them.”

After words from several others came the cutting of the ribbon. Two dancers from MorrisonDance who had previously welcomed guests took the stage, stood near each other and then slowly twirled apart, one dancer unwinding the ribbon from the waist of the other.  Several cuts later, fireworks boomed and the plaza was opened to the public for free samples and fun.

Through one of the many glass walls in the new Museum of Contemporary Art building, which opens next weekend, staff could be seen shelving items for display. Synthetic fireflies glowed in the trees of the plaza as the public enjoyed free samples from the plaza’s vendors. While the people who had dreamed of this were inside the tent, their collective visions came to life outside.

The Antlers' "Undersea" Shines at Grog Shop Show

The Antlers took the Grog Shop stage last night with a set that spanned the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based band's full-length albums, as well as their latest EP, Undersea. Bathed in blue lights, the group began the show with "Drift Dive," the dreamlike opener from their newest release, followed by Burst Apart's "Rolled Together" and "No Widows" before returning to Undersea's 8-minute-plus "Endless Ladder."

Singer and guitarist Peter Silberman's strong voice seemed to capture the sedate but thoroughly attentive crowd, especially as the set moved into selections from the band's acclaimed 2009 concept album, Hospice, and the whisperlike vocal opening of "Kettering," followed by "Shiva" and "Silvia."

Undersea's "Chrome" and "Zelda," were other standouts in the set, illustrating the band's deliberate sound evolution from the heavy and heart-rending subject matter of their previous releases. (Check out our 5 Questions with Peter Silberman in which he discusses the shift). Undersea is rich and layered and could make some wonder how it translates to the stage, but the band delivers it flawlessly.

A two-song encore brought what are arguably the band's two most popular songs, "I Don't Want Love" and "Putting the Dog to Sleep." The latter, a pleading and powerful examination of a relationship left in ruins, ignited the crowd before sending them off into the night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Romney Rallies Support at Roundtable in Bedford Heights

As presidential candidate Mitt Romney took his seat on stage at American Spring Wire in Bedford Heights today, thunderous cheers and high-pitched whistles reverberated through the room of shiny hard hats and giant blue bundles of wire.

Inside the plant, decorated with “We need a real recovery” posters, Romney kicked off the event, dubbed the “Micro-Manufacturing Victory Roundtable,” by focusing his attention on economic issues. First on his list was China.

“On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator,” Romney pledged.

In the town-hall-inspired discussion, small-business owners shared their economic concerns and difficulties. Some mentioned taxes and high health care costs, but the top concern for many businesses was the need for a more highly skilled workforce.

“We have 23 million people looking for a good job,” said Romney. “And we have millions of jobs that are open but cannot be filled because people don’t have the skills they need to fill those jobs.” Romney said the federal government has 47 different training programs, and that he would cut them and send those funds to individual states, allowing them to create their own.

Mike Rowe, star of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” echoed Romney’s sentiment, saying the country is disconnected from “the most important part of the workforce.”

“People who do dirty jobs represent a modest amount of the population,” said Rowe. “But think about the results of what they do. I’m addicted — hopelessly addicted — to paved roads, cheap electricity and indoor plumbing.”

A recent poll shows Romney 10 points behind President Obama in swing-state Ohio, but Romney believes his economic plan makes him the best man for the job.

“I think the president loves America,” said Romney. “I love America. I think the president cares about the people of America, and I care about the people of America. But I know how to help the people of America.”

President Obama also appeared in Northeast Ohio today. Click here to read the Toledo Blade's report from his rally in Kent, and click here to read our coverage of Obama’s June visit to Cuyahoga Community College.

Food Places

The Westside Market in the early 1900s.

The 8th International Public Markets Conference,  organized by the Project for Public Spaces and held here in Cleveland, just wrapped up on Sunday. Speeches, public and private conversations, Facebook posts and Tweets made it clear to me that attendees were impressed with our city, from the warm welcome and our extraordinary 100 year old West Side Market and the thriving culinary district growing up around it to all that’s been accomplished in establishing a thriving local food network.

Though not officially part of the Conference schedule, events kicked off Thursday night with a taped panel discussion at WVIZ/WCPN’s Idea Center.  I was in the audience. Part of the Cleveland Connects series moderated by Plain Dealer Chief Editorial Writer Joe Frolik, the topic was “Place Matters: Can distinctive restaurants, food-related businesses and urban farms nourish the rebirth of Cleveland’s neighborhoods?”  The answer was a resounding YES! David K. O’Neil, public market expert, Public Spaces staff member, and one of the Conference organizers spoke first, providing a fascinating historical perspective about the essential role markets have played in human life all over the world. Then joined he the group to take questions along with Patrick Conway, co-founder of Great Lakes Brewing Company; Colleen Gilson, Executive Director of Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition; and Randell McShepard, a thoroughly impressive guy who helped establish a flourishing, year round, jobs generating urban farm at 82nd and Kinsman. It was a lively and fascinating exchange. An edited version airs tomorrow, Thursday, September 27, at 10:00 PM on WVIZ/PBS.  The full 90-minute forum will be available by Friday at  There will also be a more action-oriented brainstorming follow-up session October 24. Details at Cleveland Connects.

Friday and Sunday were devoted to speeches and small group sessions. A complete list of topics and participants can be found here. Scholars, market managers and board members, consultants, representatives of CDC's, and many others with a variety of job descriptions from around the country, Canada, Japan, Poland and Bermuda  exchanged ideas about increasing access to healthy foods; the ins and outs of creating and operating market districts; the benefits of local food distribution.Saturday, the 200 plus attendees had a choice of four tours that took them to urban and rural markets, farms, and communities. Read through the options and its clear there’s a lot going on in the region.

For me, the real take home is that these issues and these places are important: they are what the leaders of this movement- and it is a movement- call “hubs of opportunity,” not just for access to good food but also for quality of life, social interaction, economic development, and civic vitality. The USDA has committed to supporting the idea of local food hubs and has launched a website full of information: Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass .  

There's nothing new about coming together around the business of  food. And so what I learned is that we can draw on the past to make a better future. And Cleveland’s playing a leading role in getting us there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Flavors of Northeast Ohio event lives up to its name

For the 200-plus guests that purchased tickets to last night’s Flavors of Northeast Ohio event at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, the stacks of scraped-clean plates and emptied wine glasses made it quite obvious that no contribution went unrewarded.

Featuring an accomplished lineup of local chefs — including Dante Boccuzzi, Brian Okin, Andrew Bower and Tim Bando — those in attendance were treated to a full five-course meal, with each chef preparing a unique and themed menu for their specific table. The more than $60,000 in proceeds from the benefit will go toward the American Liver Foundation, with many in attendance pledging donations in addition to their price of admission.

After an hour replete with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction, guests began taking their seats in the main ballroom. Maureen Kyle of Channel 3 emceed the evening’s events, with Jeff Jarrett of Amp 150 and Adam Bostwick serving as culinary co-chairs. Patricia Summers, a survivor of liver disease, was also honored as this year’s LIVEr Champion.

Dan Hawrylak of Amp 150, the featured chef for my table, began the night with a crispy duck croquette, a tasty primer to the five-course spread.

Duck croquette

He followed that with a comforting and creamy squash soup, which contained pieces of roasted squash, pumpkin oil and crème fraich. One of the diners at my table described it as “autumn in a cup.” That dish was proceeded by Hawrylak’s take on fried chicken, which was confited in duck fat and served with sweet and tangy mustard greens.

After a refreshing pear salad — with blue cheese, vanilla vinaigrette and a crunchy pumpkin seed brittle — the menu’s main entrée was a bison steak, served with doughy sweet potato gnocchi, turnips, Brussels sprouts and (surprisingly) delicious pickled plums.

Bison with sweet potato gnocchi

Chef Hawrylak finished strong with a sophisticated s’more for dessert, featuring a standard graham cracker base topped with chocolate cake, a torched homemade marshmallow (giving it that campfire taste), and finished off by a chocolate ganache.

A new take on s'mores

Chef Bostwick won the evening’s “Featured Chef Menu and Design” competition for his interpretation of upscale tailgate food, accompanied naturally by plenty of football and Cleveland Browns gear. He even offered the crowd a bit of backhanded reassurance upon accepting the award, reminding the Browns fans in attendance that “there’s always next year.”

MUSIC: 5 Questions with The Antlers' Peter Silberman (@ Grog Shop 9/27)

Three years ago, The Antlers released Hospice, a bleak and delicate concept album about the relationship between a male nurse and a female patient suffering from bone cancer. Some musicians would crash and burn trying to tackle such weighty subject matter, but the 10-song collection exhibited an overt beauty that won praise from Pitchfork and NPR alike. 

The Antlers followed it by embracing an electronic edge and a bigger sound with 2011's Burst Apart (check out "I Don't Want Love" and "Putting the Dog to Sleep"), which again won praise from music writers and fans. This summer brought Undersea, a dreamy and different four-song EP that feels as whole and cohesive as anything the band has done.  

With The Antlers set to play the Grog Shop Sept. 27 (you can buy tickets here), we talked to vocalist and guitarist Peter Silberman (center of the picture above, with Michael Lerner and Darby Cicci) about the group's evolution, the new release and his take on the band's live show.

CM: Your previous two albums have dealt in various ways with the human condition — life, love and loss. Undersea has a more dreamlike quality. To what do you attribute that shift? 
PS: When we made Undersea, we were wanting to create something calming and maybe that was for other people, maybe that was just for ourselves ... But, on a whole, we approached recording it and writing it — we do both at the same time — with the idea of something really mellow in mind ... It felt like it was a bonus recording for us in a lot of ways. We were going to go in there and do it totally for fun and see what we come up with. So, that is where we ended up. Being that it was such a period of doing whatever we wanted and feeling no pressure, there didn't seem to be a need for heightened drama and fatalistic lyrics and things like that.

CM: How did you arrive at the decision to keep Undersea just four songs?
PS: We really had a defined period of time to record. We wanted to release it by summer, so in order to do that, we needed to be done by a certain day. And we had a little bit more material we were working on, but we really felt, as the recording was going on — as we were getting deeper into it — that we needed to focus and not try to produce as much as we could in a short time but really try and give a lot to those four tracks, especially because those are the four that we felt really belonged together the most. 

CM: How would you describe The Antlers' live show to someone who has never seen the band?  
PS: More than anything, it's got its own mood to it, and you feel it in the room you're in. Because sonically it's, for lack of a better word, atmospheric, and there's a looseness to it despite us being a band that I think is pretty locked in. ... It kind of takes over the room, especially with an audience that's into it. There becomes this kind of haziness about the room and we tend to play off of that and just get really into it, and I think we're in a bit of a trance when we're playing. That's what makes it fun and exciting for us — that we start a show and it feels a bit like starting up some kind of machine. ... beginning this thing that is going to move throughout the next hour and a half, that's going to travel at a certain pace and build its own momentum. 

CM: Are there any groups you've played or toured with that have had a distinct effect on you as a performer or the band as a whole? 
PS: When we toured with The National a couple years ago, that had a pretty strong musical influence on us. ... We watched pretty much their entire set every night, and we just started being able to see musically what they're doing and how precise the whole thing is. And I think there was something really inspiring about the craftmanship of it. ... I remember just watching them and thinking that we could be putting a lot of care into what we're doing in that regard, too. 

CM: What's the first album you ever bought? 
PS: I think it was The Blue Album — Weezer, their first album. That was definitely the first CD I bought. The first album I bought might have been The Offspring or Jimi Hendrix The Ultimate Experience

The Antlers play the Grog Shop Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Grog Shop's website. Do you use Spotify? Check out our CM Music: The Antlers playlist. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Minus the Bear celebrate Grog Shop

Minus the Bear gave the Grog Shop an anniversary gift last night worthy of the music venue’s 20-year history.  Returning to play the music club for the first time since 2008, the Seattle-hailing indie rockers are just one of the bands venturing back to Cleveland Heights this month in celebration of the establishment’s past two decades. (We spoke with Minus the Bear lead singer Jake Snider and Grog Shop owner Kathy Blackman to preview the anniversary in our September issue, available online here.)

Caspian and Cursive both opened the sold-out show, which filled up nicely before Minus the Bear took the stage at around 10:30 p.m. The group roared into a 17-song set that touched on all five of their full-length albums, opening with the haunting-yet-catchy “Steel and Blood” and thumping “Lies and Eyes,” both from the newly released Infinity Overhead, which dropped Aug. 28. They followed that with a string of past hits, starting with “The Game Needed Me” off of 2005’s Menos El Oso and “Throwin’ Shapes” from 2007’s Planet of Ice, before transitioning into “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse” from the band's 2002 debut, Highly Refined Pirates, and “Into the Mirror” off 2010's excellent Omni.

Minus the Bear wrapped their initial set with Omni opener (and a personal favorite) “My Time," proceeded by a spirited rendition of “Cold Company” from their newest record. Cheers of “One more song!” from the lively crowd elicited a three-track encore, though no one seemed to mind getting more than they asked for. Planet of Ice’s “Dr. L’Ling,” Infinity Overhead’s “Lonely Gun” and Pachua Sunrise from Menos El Oso closed the show, which by that point had stretched into early Thursday morning.

The band was extremely grateful to both the Grog Shop venue and Cleveland crowd throughout the evening, with Snider hollering out, “Thanks Cleveland, you guys rock,” before ducking backstage. The feeling was certainly mutual.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Season, New Look

With opening day for the Lake Erie Monsters set for Friday, Oct. 12, the American Hockey League team unveiled its new jerseys for the 2012-2013 season yesterday at City of Cleveland's Halloran Park. 

While some fans may wonder what is so new about the jersey, take a closer look underneath the Monsters logo, which has remained unchanged since the launch of the team in 2007: "Cleveland" now sits under the logo as a way to show support for the city.

"Our mission is about commitment and its about Cleveland," says Mike Ostrowski, the senior vice president and COO of the Monsters. "We wanted to be all-inclusive of the region."

The white home jersey (right) will also feature white shoulders and sleeves, instead of red, for a more traditional home uniform look.

Single game tickets for the 2012-2013 season are on sale now. All tickets can be purchased by visiting, calling 216-420-000 or by visiting the Quicken Loans Arena box office or any Northeast Ohio Discount Drug Mart. 

Going the Whole Hog

 Let’s cut to the chase. I’m going to start with the ending and finish with the lede. For those in hurry, all you really need to know is in this first paragraph. I had a truly wonderful meal at The Black Pig. Michael Nowak, chef and owner of this new Ohio City restaurant totally knocked me out with his food and the pairings he put together for the husband and I. Based on this single, first experience, I can give this place my complete, unreserved praise.

photo by Barney Taxel
If that endorsement isn’t enough, I now provide the details. Our first encounter with the creativity at work here was a cocktail called the Joli Dame — an absinthe-washed glass filled with Salers apertitif, lemon, and sparkling water. The herbal, grassy drink with a licorice whisper was crafted for grown-ups and an excellent way to get things started at the table. A meat and cheese board soon followed. It featured pork pate, chicken liver mousse, and crisp, translucent pork rinds; pickled cherries, cucumbers, and onions; toasted bread and pita chips. Everything was insanely good.

photo by Barney Taxel
Then came salads — both were original and appealing. In one, shreds of beet root and apple with crème fraiche topped arugula. The other was a kale Caesar with shrimp toast and shaved Cantal cheese. The soup was perhaps the most astonishing dish of the evening — a chilled corn veloute, smooth as suede and delightfully sweet, and flavored with black truffles that gave it depth and dimension. I was so happy and satisfied that I could have stopped there but the chef’s tasting he’d put together for us — something any diner can request — wasn’t done yet.

photo by Barney Taxel
We had pan-seared scallops with orange sabayon, fennel and grilled asparagus, and slices of perfectly prepared pork tenderloin — not like the store bought stuff we’re used to because it comes from an heirloom breed and is locally raised — with risotto. This was followed by a wedge of cheese with truffle honey, and finally a variation on a dobos torte made by layering crepes with chocolate hazelnut cream and a smear of blackberry puree.

Nowak, who is at last putting his French training to use after a long stretch doing other things at Bar Cento and Market Garden Brewery, now has a venue to do his kind of cooking. And his talent is apparent: with each course, my sense of his abilities grew. This is a chef to watch and place worthy of attention.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chalk Fest colors University Circle

At the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Chalk Festival this weekend, volunteers who looked like worker bees in yellow and black T-shirts buzzed along the Fine Arts Garden's paths, helping participants find their stone canvases. Armed with soft pastels and sometimes seat cushions, artists from all zip codes and ages set to work.

Though the talents of some three-year-olds with chalk had mine beat, the featured artists stole the show. Community arts coordinator Nan Eisenberg says the artists were asked to look to the museum’s Youth and Beauty exhibit, which ended this weekend, for inspiration.

Featured artist Joshua Maxwell, 22, focused on the Art Deco trends of 1920’s art. “Metropolises were symbolic of the grandeur of the 1920’s,” he said. “I wanted to depict Cleveland as that kind of up-and-coming metropolis with its own grandeur.”

Just beyond Maxwell, Debra Sue Solecki surveyed her adaptation of Henrietta Shore’s "California Data." As she drew, two precocious pre-teens blurted out praises. “It’s such a different experience to draw in front of a crowd,” said Solecki, “For them to become a part of the process -- it’s a really good energy.”

Robin VanLear, artistic director for community arts, has been bringing this energy to University Circle every fall since she started the event in 1990. On Saturday, she, like many of the artists, had only just begun. “If they finish by the end of day one, they’re not doing their jobs,” she said with a laugh.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Lighthouse and The Whaler pack Grog Shop

The Lighthouse and The Whaler drew a sell-out crowd to the Grog Shop on Saturday night as the Cleveland band marked the release of their second full-length album, This is an Adventure. They kicked off their fall tour with a fantastic 11-song set filled almost exclusively with material from the new release

The new songs are a change from the more subdued folk-pop of the band's self-titled full-length debut but are still marked by the tight constructions and rich harmonies for which The Lighthouse and The Whaler are known (Read our September 2012 Fall Arts Preview story "To The Sea"). 

The band performed the entire new album (although in a different order than the track listing — see the set list below), capping the night with "The Field Song," which frontman Michael LoPresti noted was the first song the band ever wrote. The Grog Shop performance also marked the group's last show with band co-founder Aaron Smith. This is an Adventure goes on sale tomorrow, Sept. 18.

The Lighthouse and The Whaler
9/15/2012 - Grog Shop
1. This is an Adventure
2. We've Got the Most
3. Venice
4. The Adriatic
5. Iron Door
6. Burst Apart
8. Chromatic
9. Untitled

11. The Field Song

Ingenuity experiments with location and innovation

Ingenuity, Cleveland's annual art and technology festival, is always searching for a perfect marriage of location and creativity. This year, after moving from the Detroit-Superior Bridge to the Port Authority's warehouses 30 and 32, it found the right pairings in some places more than others.

The bridge-to-port move traded architectural grandeur and ruin for industrial grit.  The wide-open spaces in Warehouse 32 allowed the fest to include a lot of big installations, such as a venue-bending conversion of a classic silver bus into a movie theater showing a looping program of shorts. Some of the films were a bit quiet or esoteric for a restless festival-browsing audience.  Two friends told me they'd seen great short films in the bus. But in two visits, I saw few images that would stick with me, and I noticed that viewers stayed, on average, just a couple of minutes.

With Warehouse 30 taken up by a sort of flea market and a music stage with a deafening sound system, Warehouse 32 attracted most of the installations and crowds.  It hosted at least two great successes.

"Blue Desert," a film shown on three video screens, took viewers on a trip to Antarctica, penguins and all.  The film, by two Oberlin College cinema studies professors, showed ice cracking and parting in front of the camera's eye and the thousand-shades-of-white cliffs of the continent's coast. The film, shot with very high-def cameras, fascinated with its detail while still capturing mystery.  I couldn't tell which black masses in the distance behind the flocking penguins were rock outcroppings and which were another solid flock of birds.

TAKES - 2minute trailer from Nichole Canuso on Vimeo.

In the multi-media performance "Takes," by the Nichole Canuso Dance Company, a man and a woman performed an intimate and evocative series of dances inside a tent-sized translucent projection box. Cameras caught their movements and projectors cast grainy black and white images of them onto the box's screens. At one moment, the man held up an empty picture frame, and though the woman was standing on the other side of the performance space, her image was projected into the image of the frame, as if he were seeing her in his mirror.

Nearby, a peculiar hodgepodge of obsolete technology and note-card-filled easels celebrated the nerdy gaming culture of the '80s.  The "Action Fiction Adventure," patterned after text-only computer adventure games and Choose Your Own Adventure young-adult books, invited the viewer to play the role of a solitary traveler. The protagonist attempts to escape a bizarre labyrinth filled with hazards, many of which lead suddenly to the "You Died" ending shown above.  Though the collage appearance made the game seem confusing at first, visitors who engaged with it soon turned obsessive, hunting with flashlights for their story's next scene.

Across the warehouse, kids decorated several temporary displays, including a cardboard West Side Market, with donated art supplies.

Outside, people walked along the lake, behind the two warehouses.  Chairs at the water's edge gave strollers a chance to stop and contemplate the harbor's lighthouses and the Goodtime III passing by.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Society Stylist Shares Top 5 Hair Trends:
Slinks into Saks

Colin Lively, a New York City high society stylist, returns to his hometown on Sept. 15 for an appointment-only Dior event at Saks Fifth Avenue at Beachwood Mall. “The Art of the Nude” focuses on the fall trend of invisible, minimalist makeup, with 100 percent of proceeds from the purchase of Dior’s Grege lipstick benefiting Feed the Children.

The former Cleveland celebrity hairstylist and Today’s Headlines owner, Lively left Ohio in 1990 for the bright lights of New York City. Since then, he’s styled Bette Middler, Jane Fonda and Jackie O. But it’s not about the celebrity. “It’s more about their hair follicles,” says Lively.
Lively, who is also a radio host and freelance consultant, started Lively En Mode in 2012. The full-service consultancy provides emerging hair and beauty stylists with the tools to be successful. He also spends a third of his time at Eddy’s On Coventry in Cleveland Heights. “I love what’s going on in Cleveland right now. I’m thinking about coming back permanently,” Lively exclaims. “I’ve been welcomed with open arms back to my home.”

Lively shares his top five fall hair trends, which complement Dior’s simple, glamorous nudes:

1. Chanel bob.Anna Farris has gone from a grungy, B-list celebrity to representing the best of glamour. Her bleach blonde hair combined with the Chanel bob makes my favorite look for fall. This bob is a perfect example of razor cutting and has a classic bob shape with softness to it. The hair color is a perfect example of "less is more." Instead of heavily highlighted hair, Farris has gone to monochromatic blonde. This is one of the easiest styles to care for at home and is perfect for straight to wavy hair. Stay away from bobs that are smooth if hair is curly.”

2. Strong monochromatic and tone-on-tone hair color. “I am happy to say goodbye highlights. Monochromatic is tone color with no variation. And tone-on-tone is when hair has multilevels of the same color – for example, a brunette with varying levels of brunette. The absence of highlights is the big story for trends in hair. [This] is the hottest look since the glamour girls of the big screen, when every one was bigger than life and in Technicolor.”

3. Razor cuts. “The razor has to be in the hand of a really competent hairstylist who uses the razor the way a painter uses his paint brush. Soft, internal layers allow the hair to breathe and be free, [and] no more solid chunks of layers that look like a wedding cake. Hair is wispy on ends – whether it is long or short. The wispy ends create a bounce to long hair and soften harsh lines on short hair."

4. Daring bangs. “The bangs have it this fall, but they go to new lengths. Bangs are short, or bangs are long. Get them well above the eyebrow or well below the eyebrow. Little girl, pixie bangs like Michelle Williams or down to the eyelashes bangs like Rihanna. Wave goodbye to wimpy, feathery bangs. It's all about bold statements this year.”

5. Retro-glam full flowing hair. “This calls for hot rollers or Velcro rollers. Both are fast and easy. [The] best hair for this kind of style is wavy to curly, [but] it’s not good for straight hair. After rollers are taken out, toss your hair upside down and vigorously run your fingers through your hair. Then, toss your hair back and run your fingers through your hair again. Don't brush. Use a very soft spray.”

Artful Eating

It was late afternoon and cloudy when I got my first look at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new atrium. The space, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly,is vast, dramatic, and truly awesome. It is an expression of talent, vision and the vitality of both the institution and this City. When the sun suddenly broke through, the grand glass hall glowed, awash with light and promise.

And it’s open to all, a public gathering place and private event site. Rest there between gallery visits. Book it for a wedding or a fundraiser on a grand scale. It also serves as the ad hoc “lobby” for Provenance Café and Provenance Restaurant, scheduled to open Oct 28. Both will feature menus created by Doug Katz, Chef/owner of fire on Shaker Square, who is also responsible for Provenance Catering.

A beaming Katz, clearly thrilled by the opportunity to partner with Bon Appetit Management, a food service company that shares his commitment to using fresh, local and sustainably produced products, and the Museum, was on hand to lead a small group behind the scenes and into the kitchens and dining areas still under construction. It was an impressive, if largely imagined, operation. The self-service Café will be outfitted with a tandoori oven, high-heat Robata grill, and Mediterranean stone oven. The plan includes food stations for soups, salads, paninis and cold sandwiches, and pizza. Behind this is a 200 seat banquet room with a wall of windows facing Wade Park and a landscaped grounds. Adjacent is what will soon be a 76 fine dining restaurant and lounge, open evenings only when the Museum is, with an excellent view of the atrium. Down the hall is another private dining area. The kitchens, prep and staging areas are a chef’s dream come true.

Katz, who has been serving consistently excellent fare at fire for eleven years, will draw inspiration from the cultures, collections and special exhibitions in the galleries. This will insure that the Cleveland Museum of Art will be an exciting as well as a beautiful place to eat.

When our three sons were young, I took them to the Museum often for classes and picture gazing. I always included a stop in the old café for either lunch or dessert. I thought it could lead to a lasting and positive kind of association. When Katz took the microphone to welcome us, he told a similar story about his own experience going there as child. No doubt, with his help, Museum goers of all ages are soon going to be forming some very positive associations of their own.
photos by Barney Taxel, Taxel Image Group

Monday, September 10, 2012

CPT's Pandemonium dreams

The dreams began before anyone stepped inside Cleveland Public Theater on Saturday night. Sleepers posed in night clothes on the sidewalks, eyes closed, ignoring the hundreds of guests walking past. Others dozed on and near the staircase past the lobby.

Guests had to take care to walk around the actor-sleepers as they entered Pandemonium, CPT's annual benefit and celebration of creativity. Soon there was no getting around the metaphor. For two hours, actors, dancers and musicians at 24 performance spaces explored the night's theme, dreams and the imagination.

Pandemonium aims to overwhelm. Near the outdoor stages, a Mexican Day of the Dead procession snaked past flamingo-imitating dancers from MorrisonDance. Nearby, five actors and several bemused guests sat at a long table for "The Inventor's Tea Party." A butler turned a giant key in the characters' backs -- they were the inventions, unaware that the party's host had created them.

Downstairs in CPT's Parish Hall building, an actor in a red room read from a giant copy of Jung's Red Book, a journal of the dream theorist's own dreams. "I wanted to throw everything away and return to the light of day," he intoned, "but the spirit stopped me and forced me back into myself."

One of the night's best pieces, "Inquietude," was performed in the "Boogieman's Closet," a tiny room just off the theater lobby, decorated with an eerie mix of found objects. A dozen guests at a time were guided in and made to stand in a rectangle marked on the floor.

Then actor Andrew Gombas entered, stalked around the audience in the near-dark, and with suspense-thriller timing, pulled a sheet off Melissa Crum, crouched in a corner. The nightmarish moments in the characters' dialogue, along with the unnerving light effects and score, created a Blair Witch Project-like menace -- though the lighter moments of their dream evoked child-like play, as when they imagined themselves in a spaceship careening toward Saturn.

Back on the main stage, attorney Fred Nance and his wife Jakki, a past Ohio Arts Council chair, received CPT's Pan Award for support of the arts. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and councilmen Joe Cimperman and Matt Zone joined the Nances onstage. But the biggest political star power came from Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich, who attracted fans' friendly chatter as they moved through the room.

The evening peaked with two surreal annual highlights of Pandemonium, an aerial silk dance (by Leslie Friend) and the arrival of the human dessert trays.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Art Modell Dies At 87

Art Modell, known in Cleveland as the pariah who moved the Browns to Baltimore, died from natural causes early Thursday at the age of 87. The news sparked an online debate over his legacy between his supporters and unforgiving Clevelanders and Browns backers everywhere.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: "Art Modell’s leadership was an important part of the NFL’s success during the league’s explosive growth during the 1960s and beyond. Art was a visionary...[and] built championship teams in Cleveland and Baltimore."

Alec Sulkin: "Art Modell has died. In accordance with his wishes, his body will be moved to the cemetery in a Mayflower truck at 2 a.m."

Fake Pat Shurmur: "Art Modell crushed an entire city and hurt countless people in this region. He did an UNFORGIVABLE thing. But I still pray for his family."

Chad Zumock (one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Eligible Singles in 2011): “Call me insensitive but I'm going ahead & declaring Art Modell's passing as the Browns first win this season. 1-0 baby! Here we go Brownies!”

Tony Grossi, from "Art Modell wrote his epitaph as Northeast Ohio's biggest villain of all time."

Cleveland Browns statement on Modell's death, in its entirety: "The Cleveland Browns would like to extend their deepest condolences to the entire Modell family."

Mary Kay Cabot, the Plain Dealer: "Browns have no plans right now to have a moment of silence Sunday in honor of former Browns owner Art Modell, club spokesman said."

Christopher Gordon: Attempting a moment of silence for Art Modell @ Cleveland Browns stadium on Sunday would be a HUGE mistake.

Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL Insider: "Reviled in Cleveland, beloved in Baltimore, Art Modell was one of the NFL's founding fathers. The game is not what it is without him."

Branden Lymer: "Art Modell died. Maybe now Browns fans can fight the real enemies, the management of the last 13 years."

 Coverage of Modell from Cleveland Magazine's archive:

- Jim Vickers on Modell and the Browns helmet, Nov. 2009.

- Our readers name Modell the Most Notorious Clevelander Of All Time, Nov. 2006.

- Dan Coughlin stands up for Modell, Nov. 2010.

-Mike Roberts recalls Modell and other Cleveland sports owners gathering in the Pewter Mug, at The Table, Nov. 2011.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Only the Best

Rising Star Coffee. Vero – a wood fired bistro. Remember these names. They represent two new places on different sides of town with something important in common. The first, in the former firehouse at 29th and Church Street in Ohio City, is a specialty roaster and craft coffeemaker. The second, on Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights in what used to La Gelateria, turns out true pizza Napoletana. The proprietors of both are passionate and serious about authenticity, quality, and doing things the right way. Their products are for connoisseurs and those who appreciate excellence.
Kim Jenkins, a former engineer and corporate executive, is the man behind Rising Star. He’s been roasting in this location since February and started brewing retail cups in mid July. He uses only high grade, single origin beans most bought directly from growers- and does his own blending. Beans are roasted often and in small batches and the process is a science and an art. Every order is prepared fresh, one cup at a time. There are three brewing choices: the pour over (paper filter in a holder); the aeropress (French press with a paper filter); and the vacuum pot (an old method featuring a 2-chamber method that forces the water through the coffee all at once and keeps the two in continuous contact). You have to try them all to find your favorite. And then of course there’s espresso, and the variations on that. The daily menu of coffees available has tasting notes like a wine list: Rwanda Ruli Mountain- sweet, caramel, and citrus; El Salvador Cosecha Honey Natural- sweet, fruit, and chocolate. Milk comes from Hartzler’s a local dairy. The cappuccino I had made with it and the Church Street Espresso (smoky, malt, cocoa reads the description) was utterly and uniquely delicious. In fact, I’d have to say- it was a impeccable expression of what this drink can be. Don’t head there expecting to hang out. The small café space doesn’t really have seating, though some benches and stools are in the works. For now it’s just counters to lean on and set a cup to cool.

Vero opened in June. Marc-Aurele Buholzer is the pie man. He’s young- or looks it- and radiates intensity. I wasn’t surprised to learn that he studied religion and philosophy in college (You’d be amazed by how many chefs did the same). Focusing his energy and intelligence on food, he spent countless hours experimenting to master the mysteries of dough and learn the quirks and moods of his wood burning oven. He’s so committed to the rules and regulations issued by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture that define the method of production for Traditionale Garantita Pizza Napoletana- from the type of flour to the color of the finished crust- that he’s printed them on the menu. But the true measure is in what comes out of the blazing oven (in 90 seconds flat) and to the table- a thin crisped round, bubbled up along the edges and slightly charred, splendid smelling and sublime tasting. And not like what most people are used to. Toppings are applied judiciously and thoughtfully. He’s designed glorious combinations that shouldn’t be monkeyed with- there are only four things you can add anyway. The two I’ve tried this far- one with San Marzano tomatoes, top shelf mozzarella, pancetta, an egg and cracked pepper; and the other a combination of garlic and oil, roasted vegetables, baby arugula and chevre- could not be improved upon in any way.

But the surest sign that Buholzer is taking things to a higher level is the fact that he strongly discourages taking his pies home in a cardboard box. They are best when just baked and so that’s when he wants you to eat them. For a food that’s considered the ideal take-out meal, this is a brave bold stand. I wish him well and plan to support his pursuit of perfection by stopping in for dinner often. The rest of the menu-like the space is small: some salads, an antipasto plate, bruschetta. And gelato. If you want wine, bring it.

Rising Star Coffee. Vero. Synonyms for something extraordinary.