Friday, April 30, 2010

Cleveland's Fashion Scene

I often hear complaints from "so called" fashion folks in the city regarding the lack of fashion talent and fashion events in Cleveland. I must say most of these grumblings come from quasi- fashionistas that are looking for New York Fashion Week level events and aren't willing to investigate let alone attend the many happenings that currently exist in the Cleveland fashion scene.

As a person that has worked in the local fashion industry for more than five years, I can attest that fashion is alive and well in Cleveland. Cleveland is bubbling with fashion talent. From the awesome fashion schools to designers, models, stylists, photographers, hair and makeup artists, journalists and event producers — fashion is here!

My one gripe about fashion in Cleveland is the lack of support it receives from the people of Cleveland. Fashion is an economic driver, an artistic expression, a catalyst to unite many diverse cultures, and oftentimes great entertainment. If the people of Cleveland would support the local industry and the events used to promote the industry, the benefits could be two-fold. First, the fashion designers would stay to live and work in the area, and secondly, the dollars spent buying local designs and products would stay in Cleveland. Local fashion labels such as Wrath Arcane, Dirty Pretty Things, Def-Native and Yellow Cake Shop have gained national attention yet have chosen to stay in Cleveland. The bottom line is if we don't support local designers, they will leave.

Events such as FLASH Friday promotes the local industry by creating social networking events for fashion industry pros, Cleveland Fashion Incubator offers fashion industry business development workshops and opportunities, and Legation, A Gallery provides space for local designers to show their work. This is just a brief example of the many fashion happenings in Cleveland.

So as I step off of my fashionable soap box, I challenge Clevelanders to support local designers, seek out fabulous fashion events, and shop locally.

Fashionably yours,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Double-shot of The Greenhouse Tavern

OK, so it's not a greenhouse, but it's a start.

This past weekend, The Greenhouse Tavern (our Silver Spoon Award winner for Best New Restaurant) christened its rooftop garden — three huge planters with herbs and vegetables — that helps showcase Jonathon Sawyer's sustainable mission.

The veggies and such will be used in the dining room, and the garden's dirt comes from compost from restaurant leftovers. Sawyer tells Channel 3 that his crew spends about 15-30 minutes every day on the "full-circle garden."

In addition, NewsChannel5's Good Morning Cleveland has been visiting our Silver Spoon Award winning restaurants this week. Today, Pete Kenworthy visits Greenhouse Tavern ... and of course, they can't help but mention the wings.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New York Cleveland Connection

I was in New York recently, and the highlight of my visit was dinner at Locanda Verde, an Italian-inspired taverna in TriBeCa. I’d been promising myself a visit, ever since the restaurant opened last spring. That’s because I’ve been following the career of chef and owner Andrew Carmellini since I learned he is from Cleveland. I like to track culinary success stories with a local link. I’d read about the great things he did at A Voce, interviewed him for The Fabulous Food Show two years ago (read it here), and given his cookbook, Urban Italian a rave review. So I was eager for a chance to taste what he was cooking now.

I was not disappointed. The meal was pure pleasure in every way. I was especially taken with the sheep’s milk ricotta starter. It was sprinkled with sea salt and herbs and splashed with olive oil. Spread thickly on pieces of toasted bread, it was just heaven - simple, straightforward and incredibly delicious. Could say the same about lamb meatball sliders, a plate of grilled sardines, gigantone - a chunky pasta shape I’d never had before - in what he calls Sunday night ragu, and a duck and sausage entree.

Carmellini’s kitchen is turning out unpretentious and deeply satisfying rustic dishes rooted in regional styles and the family fare traditionally made and served at home. This is food that’s easy to love, hearty but not heavy, full of flavor but without any of the self-referential flamboyance that so many chefs indulge in. I’m not the only one that thinks so. The May issue of Food and Wine gives the restaurant a nod on their list of 100 Best New Food and Drink Experiences. Our own Chef Paul Minnillo, a man who knows more than most about good food in general and Italian cooking in particular, told me he was there shortly after it opened and loved what Carmellini was doing. In fact he’s planning to go back soon.

I’m not surprised. Locanda Verde has more than just the menu going for it. It’s informal and reasonably priced with a really appealing cafĂ© kind of ambiance. The big room is divided into discreet sections and cozy niches so even when it’s filled with bodies and conversational buzz, as it was at 10:30 on a Friday night when I was there, it doesn’t feel too crowded or loud. Many tables offer a view of the open kitchen and wood-burning oven.

Put the place on your NYC to-do list. It’s popular, so reservations are a must. If you’re also in need of somewhere to lay your head, the restaurant is connected to the not so affordable but very luxe and lovely Greenwich Hotel. Makes it so convenient to return to Locanda Verde for breakfast or brunch.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Get a look at the Cleveland Magazine redesign

Hmm, something looks different here. If you think our May 2010 cover has a fresh appearance, wait until you see the inside of the issue.

Subscribers, look for our Best Restaurants issue in your mailbox during the next day or so. If you're not a subscriber, you'll have to make your way to your nearest bookstore to check out our magazine's bold new look.

What's changed? A lot, but here's a quick overview from Editor Steve Gleydura's May issue Comment from the Editor:

Lake Effect, our forecast on the people, places and things we love, combines and expands our coverage of ideas, newsmakers, arts, entertainment and style in unexpected and ever-changing ways (just like our weather).

The Dish, our dining section, now has more insight on our restaurant and food scene. Likewise, Datebook provides enhanced listings for the hottest happenings in town.

We’ve also created new places for thought and perspective in Voice, which is a more personal essay, and Talking Points, which is where Mike Roberts and others will critique, prod and force us to see the city in new ways. And in our ultimate nod to the past, we’ve created The Terminal (as in Tower) as a destination to make our rich history come alive.

Art director Jennifer Kessen captured a similar feeling in her energetic, sophisticated design. Visually, we looked to the 1920s, when the city was the fifth-largest in the country, for a modern twist on its Art Deco style that showcases the department headings and the abundance of sharp lines.

Our history as a manufacturing power and transition to a green city on a blue lake plays out with an emphasis on contrasting darks and lights, punctuated by splashes of color. And yes, that’s even a new nameplate on our cover, the first major change since the early 1990s.

In all the excitement we almost forgot: Jonathon Sawyer's Greenhouse Tavern is this year's Silver Spoon Award winner for Best New Restaurant. Check out the rest of the winners in our May issue. If you want to buy a ticket to this year's Silver Spoon Awards party, you can pick one up here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stars On Ice at the Q

For most people there is a perception that goes with figure skating — elegant, diva-like and strong-willed. However, Olympic ice dancer Tanith Belbin says none of those associations are true. Instead, she says "nerd" should be on that list.

She says she talked her partner, Ben Agosto, into going on a tour of the Florida Everglades just so she could feel as if she was in the opening credits of CSI: Miami.

“He said ‘I just need to get a red wig so I can be Horatio and we will go out there’,” she laughs, admitting that more often Ben is the one talking her into outdoor activities. “He’s the Bear Grylls, Man vs. Wild, guy."

Belbin’s natural habitat is indoors, on ice and on April 30 that ice will be inside Quicken Loans Arena. Belbin, along with her partner and 16 other figure skaters including men’s Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek, Olympic ice dance silver medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis, will stop in Cleveland as part of the Stars On Ice tour.

We recently talked to Belbin about everything from her favorite part about Stars On Ice to her thoughts on Cleveland, and what it’s like dating her competition and fellow star Charlie White.

What is your favorite part about Stars on Ice?
I would say just the entire collaborative effort. It is different from any other show, where they just do the exhibition format that just features one skater, one at a time, in a roll call. This show has always had a theme, sort of a cohesive run of it, and you get to do the numbers with skaters from all generations.

What do you think about Cleveland?
We’ve been skating in Cleveland for shows and things like that almost every year since 2000. In fact the last time we were [in Cleveland] doing a show with another tour was a couple of years ago, and we were getting ready to go on the ice to start the show and the Cavs were having a meeting at [Quicken Loans Arena]. The whole team just walked by us down the hallway. They were calling my name on the ice and I was trying to get LeBron James’ autograph.

What is it like competing against the person you’re dating?
It’s interesting. Thankfully his role in my life as my boyfriend is above and beyond any other role that he takes in my mind. When we are competing we’re so focused on what we’re doing individually that it’s never having our wires crossed in our minds. I don’t know if it would work for everyone but it works for us.

If you could tell anyone anything about the Stars on Ice tour what would you say?
I would tell them that seeing skating live is absolutely nothing like seeing it on television. I know that people have said that about different sports before, but skating is one of those that you need to be there to fully take in. I have heard people for years and years who have come to their first skating event and come up to me afterward and say that this is so much better in person, you can see the speed and you can take in the full performance, you can see the facial expressions and Stars has cast itself with not only the best skaters but the best performers.”

Tickets start at $25 (plus a $3 facility fee) and can be purchased by visiting the Quicken Loans Arena website.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not that Caddyshack, but still cool ...

We’re a bowling town, as you probably read when picking up our Best of Cleveland issue in October. But turn the corner from East Fourth Street onto Prospect Avenue, and you’ll see that we sure as hell like to golf, too.

The Caddyshack Lounge and Pro Shop, which opened in early March, is kind of like The Corner Alley but with individual golf simulator screens (15-minute and per hour rentals) and Nintendo Wii instead of swanky bowling lanes.

Go there after work Tuesday and Wednesday nights to compete in longest-drive competitions starting at 5, or sing your heart out on Thursday’s karaoke night, which is also Ladies’ Night. (Psst … We hear there’s even a VIP room in back with leather couches, private simulators and a private server for special occasions.)

So grab your gear and tee off downtown at Caddyshack. Besides, bowling was so last year.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Grape Story

It was 11 AM and I’d already been drinking for half an hour. Yes, that IS rather early, and no, I don’t have an alcohol problem. I was sipping chardonnay and cabernet professionally, a participant in a seminar led by Georg Riedel. His family company, Riedel Glas Austria, makes wine glasses, but these are not conventional stemware. These “vessels," as he calls them are varietal specific: one shape and size for Pinot Noir, something quite different for Zinfandel. Glasses, he tells the audience, are tools for transforming the perception of what’s in them. His goal was to demonstrate that wines drank from the appropriate glass taste better.

I started out a skeptic and finished a true believer. It was an absolutely mind blowing experience – and not because I was intoxicated. This was physics at work and the intentional engineering of the interaction between molecules and senses.

We sniffed then sampled a dry Ohio Riesling made by DebonnĂ© Vineyards from a plastic cup. It was okay, nothing special. Then we pour it into Riedel’s Riesling glass and try it again. I would not have believed this was the same wine if I hadn’t transferred it from one to the other myself. A heady aroma of white peaches, apricots and a hint of honeysuckle was pronounced. The flavor was beautiful- stone fruits, acidity balanced by minerality Then we poured it into a quality generic glass (also made by Riedel). The wine went a bit flat, losing much of its intensity on the nose and the palate.

We repeated the experiment with other wines and the results were always the same. The Riedel glasses helped the wine express itself and enhanced my ability to distinguish all the nuances of taste and aroma that form its distinctive character. I can’t afford to go out and buy multiple sets but I’m thinking that I’d like to slowly acquire a few for our favored varietals. And I definitely have a new respect for restaurants and winery tasting rooms that use them.

The session was part of a conference sponsored by The Ohio Wine Producers Association that was held last week in Geneva (as in nearby “on-the-Lake”, not Switzerland.). Representatives from twenty wine producing states between the East Coast and the Rockies showed up to swap ideas and show off their products. I tried lots of red and whites from many lesser known American wine producing regions and two varietals new to me - Traminette from Indiana, and Missouri Norton. I also learned about some destination wine trails around Ohio and in New York, Maryland and Iowa, and met many passionate promoters and vintners.

I also picked up information about a local event scheduled for Saturday, April 24th. Around the World in the Grand River Valley Wine Region is a progressive, drive-yourself, eat and drink fundraiser for area foodbanks. Five wineries within 10 minutes of each other, and just a short drive from Cleveland, will be offering their European style wines paired with hearty appetizers. Sounds like a delightful way to while away a few Saturday afternoon hours.
Grand River Cellars, Madison

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Goodbye, Rocky

Fifty years ago this month -- April 17, 1960, to be exact -- the Indians traded Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn. Without their home-run champ, the Tribe were never the same again: They wouldn't contend until the 1990s. The Colavito curse has become a key legend of Cleveland loserdom, a baseball-sized wound to the civic psyche.

Terry Pluto called Colavito to chat last week and found the home-run champ, now 76 and living on a Pennsylvania deer farm, still saying unprintable stuff about Frank Lane, the general manager who traded him. But to hear a lot more from Rocky, and to see how the trade looks on the other side of Lake Erie, check out this interview with Colavito from the Detroit Free Press.

"I still believe that if I had stayed with the Indians I would have had a longer and even more productive career," Colavito tells writer Bill Dow. "When you stay with one team, your name becomes synonymous with the organization."

Still, Rocky manages to find good things to say about playing with '60s Tiger greats Al Kaline and Norm Cash. He brags he could throw a baseball over the roof of any stadium. He explains why he signed more autographs than most any player: "As a kid growing up in the Bronx, I would try to get autographs outside of Yankee Stadium, and I remembered how bad I felt when a player wouldn't sign for me."

Losing such a great guy still stings (even though he rejoined the Indians toward his career's end). When we included the Colavito trade in our August 2006 Notorious Cleveland issue, readers voted it one of the city's most notorious moments: Rocky almost knocked the Torso Murders out of our tournament bracket.

(photo from

Saturday, April 17, 2010

LeBron vs. Kobe finals, D.C. writer predicts

Michael Wilbon doesn't have to deal with Cleveland fans' native pessimism, like Terry Pluto does. The Washington Post columnist can call it like he sees it. So today, as the NBA playoffs begin, he makes this prediction: LeBron vs. Kobe in the finals.

He writes:

If the Cavaliers are as motivated to win as they claim to be, they'll take out the Chicago Bulls (tougher than nails but not talented enough yet) in no more than four games, then Miami (which will upset the Celtics) in five, and get ready to visit revenge on Orlando.

Wilbon predicts the Cavs will take Orlando in five(!), with Shaq and Antwan Jamison as deciding factors. He even seems to slightly favor LeBron & Co. over L.A.:

[The Lakers will] try to defend their championship against a Cleveland team that's no better in terms of talent, but deeper and fresher and -- in the case of LeBron James -- hellishly determined to take his place for the first time, but not the last, in the winner's circle.

Clevelanders will believe it when they see it, right? No one wants to get burned by believing too soon. So the town will stay cool and cautious and notably unexcited until the Cavs take a third-round lead. But it's good to see that an unbiased eye thinks it's OK for us to get excited now.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who Wears Short Shorts?

Greetings, Cleveland fashionistas!!

As summer approaches and temps heat up, I have become obsessed with one piece — short outfits.

I'm not sure if it's because my long legs won't dare allow me to venture into such territories or the fact that they are just so adorable.

I have been seeing them everywhere and in every style imaginable — from denim and strapless, silk with asymmetric shoulders, to plaid with patch pockets. These cutesy rompers will add spunk to any wardrobe and can go from day to night with a quick change of accessories. By adding a great statement necklace, stacks of sparkly bracelets and caged heels, you will be happy-hour ready in no time.

Fashionably yours,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Say Cheese

I’ve been eating cheese all my life but last week I had a chance to learn how to taste it and talk about the experience. My host and teacher was Jean Mackenzie. She’s a goat cheese maker and she’d invited me, along with some other people, to her farm in Hiram to giver her feedback about her chevre.

The group of volunteer samplers included Karen Small, chef/owner of The Flying Fig in Ohio City; Shannon Welsh, the Cheese, Wine and Beer Merchandiser for Heinen’s; Geoff Stout of Euro-USA, a food importing and distributing company; Matthew Smith, chef/owner of Umami in Chagrin Falls, and two of Jean’s friends.

Mackenzie Creamery, her little artisan company, has gone from start-up to super successful in just three years. The fresh goat milk cheeses she produces have won prizes and are a favorite of local chefs and consumers. Jean had brought us together to act as an advisory board as she develops new flavors and varieties.

Telling her whether we liked or didn’t like what we tasted was important but it wasn’t enough. There’s a very precise language to describe the sensory properties of cheese, just as there is for wine. Jean had gotten some training in the method from the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese and she was our guide as we educated our palates and built a vocabulary for talking about our perceptions.

We did some blind tests, trying her cheese side by side with similar products from other sources, and were the first to try three new creations. We graded them on a numbered scale from strong to weak for sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and sweetness. We rated the texture and evaluated the overall appeal. Precision was essential. I found it surprisingly difficult to identify what was actually happening on my tongue, and so did everyone else at the table. But the intensity of the effort made for a really interesting and pleasurable couple of hours.

Jean collected the evaluation sheets she had us fill out and took notes during the lively discussions that followed each formal tasting. I can’t reveal what flavor she’ll soon be adding to her line, but I can say with some certainty that, based on what I had last Wednesday afternoon, it will be delicious.

Our group will meet again in the fall. That’s when Jean’s first batch of mold ripened goat milk cheeses will come out of the aging room that’s currently near completion. My mouth is already watering in anticipation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Plain Dealer's Phillip Morris is Pulitzer finalist

We've been Phillip Morris fans since the days when his fresh take on our town was buried inside The Plain Dealer's editorial pages.

So we named Morris one of our Most Interesting People in 2008 when his column was moved to the Metro page and his common-sense opinions reached a wider audience. Obviously, we couldn't get enough of the guy and included him in our February 2009 feature, Singles File, as one of our 20 Sexy Singles. Now, Morris adds another honor to his resume: He was named a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for commentary on Monday.

Beyond the print journalism awards that the Pulitzer Prize is most commonly associated with, Cleveland also achieved some recognition in other categories:

Perfectly timed with our April article honoring National Poetry Month, Ashland University faculty member Angie Estes was honored as a poetry finalist for her book Tryst.

The Cleveland Chamber Music Society was given the privilege to host the first performance of Fred Lerdahl’s String Quartet No. 3 in December 2009, which was named a finalist in the only music category.

And thanks to Playhouse Square’s 2010-2011 Broadway Series, Clevelanders will get a chance to see Pulitzer Prize winning drama Next to Normal in June 2011.

Check out the rest of the 2010 winners and finalists here.

'Disasters' Ahead!

John Stark Bellamy II is the keeper of our city's darkest tales. Since the mid-90s he's turned stories of murders and unspeakable disasters from the city's distant past into compelling reading.

In our April 2010 issue, I talked to Bellamy (who moved to Vermont a few years ago after retiring from his full-time job as a librarian) about his newest book, Cleveland's Greatest Disasters: 16 Tragic Tales of Death and Destruction. The release of the anthology is coinciding with a series of lectures the author is giving next week at local libraries and bookstores. Check out the list below for the location nearest you.

In the meantime, if you'd like to get your hands on Bellamy's newest book, become a Facebook fan of Cleveland Magazine and keep your eye on our feed this week. We're giving out one copy of Bellamy's new book each day to the person who comments first after we announce each day's giveaway.

April 19, 7-8 p.m., Cuyahoga County Public Library Bay Village branch
502 Cahoon Road, 440-871-6392

April 20 7-8 p.m., Cuyahoga county Public Library Strongsville branch
18700 Westwood Drive, 440-238-5530

April 21, 7-8 p.m., Cuyahoga County Library Brecksville branch
9089 Brecksville Road, 440-526-1102

April 22, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Willowick Public Library
263 E. 305th St., 440-943-4151

April 23, 7-8 p.m., Visible Voice books
1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland, 216-961-0084

April 24, 2-3 p.m., Cuyahoga County Public Library Parma Heights branch
6200 Pearl Road, 440-884-2313

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Buzzards Circling WMMS Vinyl Collection

Do you still listen to albums? Do you have a very large van? If you answered 'yes' to both of these questions, you may be interested to know that WMMS 100.7 will soon be handing off its entire record collection to one lucky music fan.

The only catch may be figuring out how to get your winnings home. "These are the actual records played on WMMS back in the day ... There are more records than we can count," Clear Channel Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams said in a press release. So, if you've always wanted to beef up your collection of Aerosmith, Meatloaf, Chicago and Rick Springfield albums, now is your chance. Register to win at, or sometime between now and April 25 at midnight.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Infomercial King Comes to the Q

Admit it: the Snuggie phenomenon rocked your world for the whole five-minute infomercial. Besides, what’s cooler than a wearable blanket with sleeves? 

But it doesn’t hold a flame to the inventions A.J. “The Infomercial King” Khubani has been selling to the masses. The founder and CEO of TeleBrands “As Seen On TV” products is the man behind useful solutions such as PedEgg, Windshield Wonder and Crazy Critters and he’s always up to hear more great ideas that might make life a little easier. 

He’ll be at Quicken Loans Arena for Lake Erie Monsters Fan Appreciation Night this Saturday to field ideas from fans and future inventors. It’s the Monsters last home appearance of the season, so get your tickets, bring yourself and your very best pitch. Who knows? Your invention could even be the next ShamWow! 

*Become a fan of Inside Business on Facebook for a chance to win some of Khubani's top-sellers today and tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Guinness Book Snuggie Record Already Broken ...

Well, it was an honor while it lasted. Unfortunately, our bragging rights stood intact just slightly more than a month. After almost 18,000 Cleveland Cavaliers fans donned wine-colored Snuggies on March 5 to snag the title of "largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets," Major League Baseball's Anaheim Angels shattered our moment of glory by dressing 43,510 of their fans in Snuggies April 6. Read all the gory details here. Maybe we can make another go at this during Browns season.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Play Ball

Beer and baseball seem made for one another. An Indians pre-opening day party April 11th from 2-11 p.m. at the Greenhouse Tavern celebrates both with a limited edition ale created by Buckeye Brewing Company in collaboration with restaurant owner and chef Jonathon Sawyer specially for the occaision.

The label on the bottles is special too and I‘m proud to take some of the credit for that. Here’s why.

In January, Sawyer posted a picture on Facebook of a possible label for Saison de Maison, another joint project with his Lakewood brewing pals. He asked for comments on the image which featured an unclothed and buxom lass in all her busty glory. So I weighed in with this opinion: “Ditch the tits. So old, so done. How 'bout a nice tasteful full frontal of a guy?” Another person (a woman of course- the guys were, well- more universally uncritical and enthusiastic) added: “I'm with Laura. Jonathan, why don't you be the model? I'd BOOK back to Cleveland to have that beer.”

He didn’t respond online or any other way. I thought maybe my remark- half serious, half jokoing- had annoyed or offended him. And then I forgot about the whole thing. Imagine my surprise when Sawyer called me at the end of last week to tell me about the cool label for the latest Buckeye/Greenhouse suds. Turns out that he took my suggestion to heart.

The label you see here is the work of Kyle Roth of Epstein Design Partners. There was a rumor that Sawyer’s wife Amelia was prototype for the lovely lady on the Saison bottle. So I just had to ask Sawyer if he was the inspiration for the batter with the strategically placed foot. “Absolutely not,” he assured me. “It’s one of our bartenders.”

Whoever stepped up to the plate for this, did his part for gender equity. And my response is Ladies- this one’s for you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Greenhouse Tavern's Jonathon Sawyer named one of Food & Wine's Top 10 Best New Chefs

Food & Wine Magazine has confirmed what we've known since May of 2008. The publication just named The Greenhouse Tavern's Jonathon Sawyer one of the Top 10 Best New Chefs. The cat slipped out of the bag before today's 5 p.m. announcement, after Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin started tweeting clues about who was on the list. "Midwestern eco-home" sounds familiar doesn't it?

When we wrote about Sawyer as one of our Tastemakers in our 2008 Best Restaurants issue, it was for the buzz he was generating at Ohio City's Bar Cento. He left that restaurant behind to open The Greenhouse Tavern last spring. People have been talking about the place ever since. Speaking of restaurants, our Best Restaurants issue is coming in May. Who knows, maybe Sawyer will make an appearance there as well. (Well, actually, we know if he makes an appearance, but you'll have to wait for the issue.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Win David Sedaris tickets this week

In our April issue, senior editor Erick Trickey explained the allure of David Sedaris. The writer and former department-store elf is coming to E.J. Thomas Hall on April 21.

We're giving away a pair of tickets to see him every day by way of our Facebook page. If you're not a fan, become one now.

After that, keep your eyes glued to your Facebook feed this afternoon. We'll be giving out the first pair of tickets before 5 p.m. to the person who comments first.

Please keep in mind, if you've won something from us in the past 30 days you're not eligible. (And you might as well be honest, because we keep track of this stuff). Also, if you or a family member works for Great Lakes Publishing, you're not eligible either. Sorry mom.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

National Poetry Month in Cleveland

Underground poet d.a. levy found inspiration in the streets of 1960s Cleveland. Now it's your chance. As National Poetry Month arrives, we sought out some of the poetry events going on around town for our list below. Also, check out where a trio of Cleveland poets find their inspiration (and where you can see them this month), and read senior editor Erick Trickey's profile of d.a. levy from our November 2007 issue.

CSU Poetry Series
Main Classroom 134, 1899 E 22 St., Cleveland

Thursday, April 1, 7:30 p.m.; free
A reading with Poets Sean Thomas Dougherty and Jeffrey McDaniel

Thursday, April 22, 7:30 p.m.; free
A reading with Poets Elyse Fenton and D. A. Powell

Case Western Reserve University
Guilford Parlor
1112 Bellflower Road, Cleveland

Monday, April 19, 8 - 9:30 p.m.; free
Visiting poets Melissa Kwasny and Dick Miles
& CWRU assistant professor of creative writing Sarah Gridley

Ohio Theatre

1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Tuesday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.; $30
Writers Center Stage Series: Mary Oliver

Cleveland Public Library
Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium
325 Superior Ave., N.E., Cleveland

Sunday, April 18, 2 p.m.; free
Kay Ryan (16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry appointed by the Library of Congress and just the fourth woman to hold that position).

The first sign of spring: a drive-in movie

As Cleveland savors a bit of unseasonable 70-degree weather this Friday, North Ridgeville’s Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In Theater opens with four movies that few of us are in any hurry to see. Still, drive-in devotees will likely show up in droves to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson don wings as the Tooth Fairy despite the movie’s cringe-inducing reviews since its January release. Why? The drive-in is an experience – just ask the Aut-O-Rama’s 2,400 Facebook fans.

Some of us will always recall seeing our first flick stretched out on the car hood in footed jammies, our back reclining against the cool windshield, fingers interlaced behind our head as we mirrored our dad. Others remember making out in the back seat, because, as we’ve learned from the movies, that’s what you’re supposed to do at the drive-in. I smile when I think about taking my fluffy white dog to see Rob Zombie’s rendition of “Halloween.” Parked on the passenger seat, I knew she’d save me if Michael Myers came a’knockin’ in that hockey mask. (Note: the drive-in no longer allows dogs.) But, for the majority of us, the drive-in is all about the glorious, often deep-fried, food: French fries, cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers, corn dogs, quarter-pound cheeseburgers, fiestadas and nachos. The Aut-O-Rama’s snack bar is an anorexic’s nightmare.

With only around 375 drive-in theaters left in the country, we’re lucky to have had this family-owned jewel for 45 years. So I, for one, will be at the Aut-O-Rama this weekend, funnel cake in hand. And with last year’s lighting issue resolved, I won’t have to wear shades while watching the double-feature.