Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tastes Like Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day, the sugary-sweet alter ego of Valentine's Day, is Oct. 17. Impress the one you love or treat yourself with a series of truffle-making parties hosted by The Bom — a 2014 Best of Cleveland winner.

Grab a partner and select a bottle of your favorite wine from one of the three participating wineries. Carolina Martin, owner and chocolatier behind the Bom's boozy treats, will provide all the dry ingredients to make your own 21-and-over truffles.

You'll leave with five boxes, or about 20 truffles, just in time for Sweetest Day. But we won't blame you if you keep them for yourself.

Register by calling 216-941-7643 or send an email to

Thursday, Oct. 1
6-8 p.m.
Paper Moon Vineyards, 2008 State Road, Vermilion
$25 per person

Wednesday, Oct. 14
6-8 p.m.
Sharon James Cellars, 11303 Kinsman Road, Newbury
$30 per person

Thursday, Oct. 15
7-9 p.m.
John Christ Winery, 32421 Walker Road, Avon Lake
$30 per person

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fine Prints For All

If you always thought having an art collection was out of reach financially, think again. The Cleveland Museum of Art wants to jump-start your print collection with the 31st Fine Prints Fair, the second oldest continually running print fair in the United States, from Sept. 24-27. The prints, which span from 16th century to today, come from 15 dealers throughout the country and are guaranteed originals. These hand-selected dealers, along with with the Inter-Museum Conservation Association, a nonprofit conservation laboratory, are at the fair to educate visitors and hopefully inspire someone to collect. "Dealers will have prints starting at $100 so that students or young people can start collecting," says Jane Glaubinger, the Cleveland Museum of Art's curator of prints. "There is such a wide variety of prices and something for everybody."

Morris Blackburn Forms, 1945, color screenprint. Courtesy of Dolan/Maxwell

Forms by Morris Blackburn 
Abstraction was nothing new by 1945 when Blackburn made this print, but the artist's use of dimension is definitely exciting. "The artist has removed the idea of three-dimension by using these spots of very bright, solid colors," says Glaubinger. "He used the areas of flat, bright colors to flatten out the space."

.Henri Riviere La Montagne, 1897, lithographCourtesy of Pia Gallo
 La Montage by Henri Riviere 
The Parisian artist, who spent his summers in Brittany, France, was inspired by the colorful landscapes he saw during his time in northwestern France. Replicating those vibrant images, which were made in the 1890s during the height of lithography in France, required a lot of skill. "For each color, you're printing from a separate stone or different plate," Glaubinger says. "It's complicated to print a lot of different colors and to register the paper perfectly each time you print."

Martin Lewis Little Penthouse, 1931, drypoint. Courtesy of The Old Print Shop, Inc.
Little Penthouse by Martin Lewis 
The artist, who lived in New York, was not afraid of the dark. In fact, he often used night scenes and added a few light effects. "He would have a dim scene and then would include a bright light like a lamppost or something," says Glaubinger. "In this print, he uses the window as his light source." Lewis was also never tempted by color, as he was skillful in black and white. "They don't always want to work in color," adds Glaubinger. "There's something about the contrast of the black ink of the white paper."

Bowl Like a Boss

Earlier this month, the newly improved Corner Alley reopened its doors to show off the results of a two-month overhaul of the downtown location. With 16 lanes (including a few in a tucked-away corner for groups), two full bars, 24 beers on tap, a dining room with more than 50 seats and three dozen shareable appetizers, snacks, sliders and pizzas, there are a lot of reasons to love the refreshed space.

We can't (and probably wouldn't) share our fried fish sliders ($10) here, but if you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, our photo tour is a good place to start.

Bowlers waiting for their turn on the lane can take in a game (or four) on overhead high-definition TVs.

Floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor patio spaces offer lots of people-watching opportunities.

Though the main bowling space is huge, there's more below with a soon-to-open arcade game downstairs.

Clean and modern lanes offer stuffed chairs, in-lane food and drink service and vintage tabletop arcade games.

Awash in light, a tabletop shuffleboard beckons to a second bar and more secluded lanes.

What goes better with bowling than bourbon?  Also find about 18 cocktails, a dozen wines and 60 brews available here. 

Bowling lanes can accommodate up to eight bowlers at a time. Friday through Sunday lanes cost $25 per hour before 5 p.m. or $35 per hour after 5. Weekdays are $15 per hour before 5 and $30 per hour after 5. Shoe rental is an additional $3.50 per person or free from 2-6 p.m.

The Corner Alley Downtown, 402 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-298-4070,; Sun-Thu 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Fri & Sat 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.

Love Reigns: Nathan and Lukas Trayte

Nathan and Lukas Trayte
Lukas needed a change. He was in a stormy relationship and had been chatting with Nathan for months on the social networking app Grindr. So when Lukas broke up with his boyfriend, he moved to Florida to start a new life. But it didn’t last long. After just a month, he returned to Ohio and moved into Nathan’s house in Berea. Now, six years later, the two live in Cleveland Heights and wed July 10 in Ohio before hosting a private wedding ceremony in Puerto Vallarta July 30. We spoke to them about the importance of family and the benefits of finally being able to publicly announce their love for one another.

Nathan: I spent many years trying to be straight. I had previously been engaged to a woman. So, I had kind of a mental block with the whole marriage thing. Coming out of what would have been a sham wedding, I just had a hard time wrapping my head around that. I knew Lukas was the right person, and even then it still took a while. The winter after we had moved to [Cleveland Heights], we had a house, we were living this life together. It finally clicked. Lukas is fiercely protective, not only of me, but of our family unit. I know that he always has my back.

Lukas: I wear the pants in the relationship, but he’s the belt that holds them up. He’s never held me back from anything. I’ve always admired the fact that he is so family-oriented. My parents came up with my sisters and all their kids right after Thanksgiving last year. I pretty much said, “You either want a relationship or not. Nathan and I are getting married. I want you to meet him. I want you to see where we live.” I frantically decorated the house for Christmas. I got it done an hour before they showed up. It was important to me. You want your parents to accept who you’re with, and they accepted my brothers-in-law. Well, I found someone and I want to show him off too. I always wanted to get married. I wanted a family. I wanted kids. — as told to James Bigley II

Editor’s Note: In the September issue of Cleveland Magazine, we interviewed 10 same-sex couples that were engaged or married following the June 26 Supreme Court decision. Check back every Wednesday for more stories through Sept. 30. For all the stories in this series, click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cocktails for Kids

Crop Rocks' Steve Schimoler, chef and owner, and beverage manager Ryan Wilkins 

Guzzle for a good cause this Friday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. when the Gala speakeasy fundraiser takes over Steve Schimoler's new On Air Studio (part of the new trio of Crop venues in the Flats that also includes Crop Sticks and Crop Rocks).

Benefiting Cleveland Clinic Children's, the event features hors d'oeuvres by Crop Rocks, craft cocktails by representatives of the United States Bartenders Guild and live music by Brazilian jazz quartet Moises Borges and the David Thomas Jazz Trio.

Crop Rocks beverage manager Ryan Wilkins shares his Silk Road cocktail recipe, which he will serve on Friday to complement the Asian-influenced cuisine.

"We're trying to incorporate some Asian flavors and ingredients not only because they fit [Crop Sticks ] thematically, but because they go well with the food," says Wilkins. The drink features vodka, yuzu (a mild Asian citrus fruit) and fresh shiso.

If you're unfamiliar with the herb, you're not alone. "It's not a direct parallel to a more common herb in Western cooking," Wilkins explains. "It has a very vibrant, slightly spicy flavor with a little undertone of bitter. [It's like] a cross between cilantro and arugula."

Though shiso makes an appearance in a few other Crop Sticks cocktails, "This time I wanted to work with the shiso flavor but in a cocktail that would be very smooth and balanced without aggressive acidity," he says.

Order up on Friday or try your hand at mixology with the following recipe:

Silk Road

2 ounces Chopin Potato Vodka
3/4 ounce oleo-saccharum syrup (see recipe below)
1/4 ounce yuzu juice
small handful shiso leaves
small pinch salt

Dry-shake shiso leaves to bruise, then add other ingredients. Shake well and double-strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with microshiso leaf.

Oleo-saccharum syrup

Peels from two grapefruits and four limes (remove bitter white pith with a sharp paring knife or peeler)
3 cups sugar
3 cups water

Combine sugar and citrus peels in an airtight container and allow to macerate overnight. Remove citrus peels (straining sugar through sieve if necessary) and add sugar to medium saucepan. Stir in water, then simmer until sugar is dissolved. Cool. 

Tickets to the Gala are $40 presale or $50 on the day of the event.

Love Reigns: Anne Price and Claudette Cole

Anne Price and Claudette Cole
Anne Price and Claudette Cole, both educators, became friends while working at a local Head Start program. Claudette, now retired from education, had four children from a previous marriage. Their shared passion for art, gardening and education — and their four grandchildren — brought the pair together. Now Anne is the director of the Office of Field Services at Cleveland State University, where she oversees student teachers. On June 26, they put the official seal on their 15-year relationship.

Anne: I grew up gay. I knew I was gay since I was 12 but didn’t come out until I met Claudette. I’d been in a relationship prior but didn’t see the benefit to coming out because there wasn’t any at that point. Growing up in the ’80s, absolutely not. I grew up in a small town outside Columbus, very homophobic, still is, and watched folks that I knew through the Girl Scouts, people I met through volleyball, whose lives were made hell because it came out. As a kid graduating high school in 1984, that was a pretty bleak thought of what could be. [When I met Claudette], she was Jamaican, she was married, she’d had four kids, but there was this energy between us. I was going to be in charge while she left for three weeks to go on a trip. And she called me that evening and wanted to know something dumb like if I had the key, which I think was a farce, and we met. She asked me a question, and I thought the question was, "Are you game?," like can I ask you a question. That wasn’t the question. It was, "Are you gay?" And the answer was, "Yes," to both. That was it, Aug. 1, 1999, and the rest of it was history.

Claudette: I remember one evening, Anne was on one side of the car and I was on the other. You know the Colgate thing, where there’s the little bling on the tube? I could just feel her energy going right into my soul. I felt it, and I was like, uh-oh. I didn’t say anything to her, and I called a friend. We met at Garfield Park Reservation, and my friend said, "What is it?" I said, "I fell in love with a girl." She said, "Shit, I thought you were on drugs!" I’m like, "No!" So she and I talked, and I went to a counselor, who didn’t think it was a big deal. Then I went to my pastor, and he didn’t say anything. I thought, What is wrong with these people? Somebody should find something wrong with this, but they didn’t, they just kept rolling. Nobody said stop, pause, nothing. We’re just so compatible. I wrote her a note that said when God created her in this little town near Columbus, and me in Jamaica, we were bound to come together. — as told to Sheehan Hannan

Editor’s Note: In the September issue of Cleveland Magazine, we interviewed 10 same-sex couples that were engaged or married following the June 26 Supreme Court decision. Check back every Wednesday for more stories through Sept. 30. For all the stories in this series, click here. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Takin' It Easy: Joe Walsh Kicks Off Solo Tour in Warren

After finishing yet another worldwide tour with the Eagles, Joe Walsh is taking it easy. 

“I’m transitioning back to being a normal person,” says Walsh from his Los Angeles home. “Going out (on tour) with the Eagles, things are on a pretty grand scale.” The pride of Kent State University will trade in arenas for smaller clubs during his new solo tour, which kicks off with a pair of dates at Warren’s Packard Music Hall Sept. 16 and 18. We talk with the 67-year-old guitar wizard about his new tour and some old friends.

Q: What can we expect from your new tour?
I’m really blessed. … I’ve got the best of both worlds. With the Eagles, you have assignments on each song, and on a good night, there’s nothing like it. Going out on a solo tour gives me a chance to open up and improvise. The interface with the audience is much better and everybody has a good seat. I’m playing with [drummer] Joe Vitale, and we decided we would go back and look through the catalog and do some stuff we’ve never done live rather than go on automatic pilot and play all the hits … which I’ll do also. I’m itching to get out there.

Q: Vitale is from Canton and has worked with Crosby Stills and Nash, and the Eagles, among others. How far back do you two go?
We were in rival bands when I was going to school at Kent. We were the hippies and his guys were the greasers. We played at places like the Fifth Quarter and the Cove. James Gang was the house band at JB’s for about two years. I’m really grateful for being in a great college community and getting a chance to play in front of people. Bands don’t do that enough now. You can’t be a legend in your parents’ garage.

Q: You’re featured on the new album by the Hollywood Vampires, a group formed by Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp. What was that like?
The Hollywood Vampires were a bunch of us that used to be crazy in LA — Alice, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon. Those were the party days. The album is in remembrance of the guys who are gone now. I played on "Whole Lotta Love." That’s kind of a tall order.

Q: In December, the Eagles will be honored for lifetime artistic achievement by the Kennedy Center. How does that feel?
It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m very humbled about this, and I don’t really know how to deal with it. You just kind of sit there and listen to people tell you how great you are.

By Barry Goodrich

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Love Reigns: Melissa and Meryl Soto-Schwartz

Melissa and Meryl with their son, Eli

After dating for six months and relocating to Cleveland, Melissa and Meryl Soto-Schwartz had a ceremony in 1997 at the Cleveland Heights Civic Center. Then while on vacation in Vermont in 2000, they had a civil-union ceremony at a library. In 2011, they also had a wedding in front of Niagara Falls with their then-10-year-old son, Eli, as witness in the hopes they could receive some form of legal protection for their family. We spoke to them about the importance of marriage equality and what it means for them now that both mothers have joint-custody of their son.

Melissa: I never thought I could get married, or even find a lifetime partner much less anything like this. We’ve been fighting for so long and to know our son and our whole family is validated and recognized and not at risk is the most incredible feeling. No one can come in and break us up in any way, shape or form, and we won’t be denied anything. Until you’re at the mercy of the law, you don’t know what that’s like. To finally have the highest court in the land say, “You can’t deny these people these rights,” it’s incredible. You are finally recognizing my full humanity.

Meryl: I’m going to be able to legally adopt Eli. Since we’re considered a legally married couple by the state of Ohio and the federal government, I don’t have to worry about that. It’s a new landscape. Because of the huge amount of public attention to these issues, there is nobody in America who is not aware that there are same-sex couples among us, same-sex couples who have all of the rights of the law. Knowing that we are married has a huge psychological boost. What allows me to adopt Eli at this point is that I’m married to his biological mother. So, the process will be the same as for a stepparent adoption. Now, of course, I am not Eli’s stepparent, I am simply his mother. But in the end, it won’t matter. In the end, my name will be on a new birth certificate and he will have two mothers, and that will be that. — as told to James Bigley II

Editor’s Note: In the September issue of Cleveland Magazine, we interviewed 10 same-sex couples who were engaged or married following the June 26 Supreme Court decision. Check back every Wednesday for more stories through Sept. 30. For all the stories in this series, click here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Beer and Brute Strength

Midwest Masskrugstemmen Champion Ivars Balodis will tap Hofbrauhaus Cleveland's first keg of Oktoberfest to kick off the beer hall's monthlong Oktoberfeast celebrations, which starts Sept. 4 and runs every weekend through Oct. 4. Don't know what a masskrugstemmen champion is? Cleveland native Balodis explains.

Ivars Balodis (top) won the Chicago Masskrugstemmen contest with a time of 10 minutes 14 seconds.

It all started last Christmas. Andis Udris, president and CEO of Cincinnati Restaurant Group, which operates Hofbrauhaus Cleveland, is my cousin. Every year at Christmas, we have family over at my house for Christmas dinner and a get-together. Usually when guests come over they bring a bottle of wine, but since the Hofbrauhaus opened up last year, he brings a keg of the Hofbrauhaus beer. … So the evening progresses, and after dinner we’re sitting around talking about the Hofbrauhaus, and he brings up this beer stein-holding event.

I’m 6-foot-5, 350 pounds, I’m a pretty big ex-athlete. So I’m like, how hard can that be? He’s telling me how the average time is anywhere between 3 and 7 minutes that people can hold it. From what I’ve learned in the last few months, it’s a little harder than what you think, holding a 5 1/2-pound beer in your hand.

You’ve gotta hold it by the handle, and you can’t wrap your hand around the mug itself, it’s got to be just around the handle itself. You hold it straight out in front of you parallel to the floor. It’s got to maintain being parallel with the floor. When you start shaking you can’t spill any beer, because after awhile your arm starts getting tired and your hand starts to shake a little and the beer starts splashing around in there. If it spills, you’re out. You’ll get two warnings from the judges if your arm’s down. They’ll say, “Lift your arm up,” or “Put your arm down,” if you try to hold it up too high. After two warnings if you do it again, you’re done.

So we’re sitting at the dining room table and I’m sitting there holding the [beer stein] out, and [Udris] goes, “If you can go five minutes, you can be in the competition.” I went 9 1/2 minutes. He was thoroughly shocked.

Fast-forward a couple of months to when Cleveland had the preliminary rounds. [Udris] called me and said, “We’re having the competition if you want to give it a try.” The wife wanted me to [do it], because the winner gets a free round-trip for two to Chicago, and then the winner of Chicago gets a free round-trip to New York City for the nationals. So she’s like, “You’re going and you’re going to win, and we’re going to Chicago and we’re going to New York. “

I had no idea what I was getting into. The preliminary round I won with a time of — I don’t even remember the first round. Basically, you just go until the second-to-last person drops. When you’re the last one standing, you win. For the Cleveland finals, I won with a time of 8 minutes and 44 seconds. So with that, I won a round-trip ticket for two [the first week of August] to Chicago and free hotel for the finals.

My wife was texting. We had 50 friends and family that showed up to cheer me on. For the Chicago trip, we had almost 25 people who drove from Cleveland to Chicago to root me on. So it turned into a nice weekend getaway. With winning Chicago, we go to the national Masskrugstemmen championships in New York City in Central Park, which is Sept. 19.

I haven’t trained for it, so I’m going to say it’s brute strength. Other than lifting a couple of beers on the weekend.

I’m a 49-year-old information technology consultant that sits on his butt all day long. I played high school and college football for Ashland University, and I was in the Marine Corps, so that helped [with] discipline.

It’s just a matter of channeling the pain. In Cleveland, I was just focusing on the basketball game on the TV. It was a Cavs playoff game, and I was focusing on that to keep my mind off of it. Same thing in Chicago: There were TVs in the back, and I was focusing on that to channel the pain out of my shoulder. For me that’s where the pain is, just in my shoulder.   — as told to Laura Adiletta

Hofbrauhaus Cleveland, 1550 Chester Ave., Cleveland,

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Love Reigns: Keith Garrett and Chris Richardson

Keith Garrett and Chris Richardson

Keith Garrett and Chris Richardson were the first same-sex couple to tie the knot in Cuyahoga County. Though they professed to be marrying simply to give their 18-year relationship the weight of legality, things got a little emotional when the pair broke out in tears and embraced in Judge Anthony Russo’s courtroom. We spoke with them about what it means to finally be legal and finding acceptance in family.

Keith: We never really sought any kind of religious acknowledgement. We never sought religious matrimony. Our relationship wasn’t based on any of that. We have a strong relationship — we didn’t need that. What this was important for was getting the legal recognition that traditional couples get just by having a marriage license. There are something like 1,100 rights that it automatically conveys. There’s only so much you can do with powers of attorney and rights of survivorship. That sounds cold, because you’re not talking about any love there. But the love was never in question. The love never needed to be recognized publicly. The legal part was what we sought.

Chris: My mother is very supportive. My parents got divorced when I was very young. My father, he is as supportive as I could expect him to be. He turned 70 this year, and he grew up in a very small town in the mountains of southwest Virginia. He grew up with those values where being gay was unheard of. It was instilled in him at a very early age that it was unacceptable. Without diving into some of the things that he said to me when I came out to him, he has come a long way. When we first got together, we went out to eat, and my dad would talk to him without actually looking at him. We sat at a square table, across from him and my stepmom, and she wouldn’t look [Keith] in the eye. And two years ago, they came up here and stayed Labor Day weekend with us. The fact that they came up was huge. I actually went down recently to see my dad, and he made a comment, basically saying, ‘You know I don’t like the fact that you’re gay, but if this is what makes you happy I support you.’  That is more than I ever thought he would say. — as told to Sheehan Hannan

Editor’s Note: In the September issue of Cleveland Magazine, we interviewed 10 same-sex couples who were  engaged or married following the June 26 Supreme Court decision. Check back every Wednesday for more stories through Sept. 30. For all the stories in this series, click here.