Sunday Satire: Foursquare Felony


Sunday Satire: Foursquare Felony

Posted by James Colman; 12:00am, August 22nd 2010

The school year is underway, and regional officials and administrators are bracing for another rash of "sexting" incidents. Lawyers are having a field day in Ohio divorce courts thanks to well-documented infidelities on Facebook. Corporate attorneys are making the case for libel against local Yelp authors. However, the greatest Internet-led crackdown is occurring on Ohio's motorways, and social media users are willingly giving themselves up. 

Foursquare is among the country's most popular web and mobile applications, allowing registered users of the free service the opportunity to "check-in" at locations, earning them points and "badges". Among obsessives, the "mayor" status is highly coveted, and tells other Foursquare users they visited a certain location more frequently than any other user. Recognizing the public's constant need for acceptance, restaurants and bars are using the application to drive business. Currently, a number of establishments offer discounts, specials and more to Foursquare users who regularly check-in. 

"The FBI developed an algorithm to track patterns of usage among users of social media applications, among them Foursquare," says Ohio state patrolman Frank Itidio. "It was clear that certain individuals most frequently 'checked-in' at bars, night clubs and restaurants. We've been using this algorithm locally, in a unique tracking system that allows us to monitor the whereabouts of certain Foursquare users." 

Itidio won't divulge how users are "red flagged", but notes that "becoming mayor of your favorite bar may make you look cool among your Facepage [sic] friends or on Mytown [sic], but it makes you a problem driver in the eyes of local law enforcement." 

Since the program started in June, officers have recorded 38 arrests for DUI, following stops based on Foursquare user updates. Regina Pantiodano was one of them. 

"I thought it was harmless," says Pantiodano, a 38-year-old marketing executive and blogger living in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. "I wanted everyone to know how often I went out, how often I supported local businesses. I wanted people to know that I had a cool social life. I wish I had just kept it to myself, and enjoyed it for what it was." 

Pantiodano became mayor of her favorite bar (which she prefers not to name) in Columbus' Short North district. "I often went after work with friends," she says. "I went at least four times per week." On Friday, June 4 at 11:45 pm, moments after leaving her favorite Short North bar, Pantiodano was stopped by a special social media mounted police task force, when she failed to indicate at a turn.The mounted task force were waiting for her after her name was picked out by the FBI-created algorithm being used by Columbus law enforcement.

"While I am not familiar with all the details of Ms. Pantiodano's case, I do know that her Foursquare check-ins, in combination with her Twitters [sic] and Facepage [sic] updates indicated a pattern of activity that was perceived as reckless." A visit to Pantiodano's Facebook page, which still contains her Foursquare updates from June 4, indicates 11 different Foursquare check-ins: a grocery store, a beauty supply retailer, her home, a gas station, a restaurant, convenient store and five bars. 

That night, she was arrested and later convicted of a DUI, sentenced to two nights in jail, ordered to pay more than $1,000 in fines and lost her mayor status. She has since quit using Foursquare and "only really uses Facebook to update my profile picture and post pics of my dog."

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Airing it Out


Airing it Out

Posted by Ivan Sheehan and tagged with Cleveland, Lake Erie, neighborhood, writing; 12:00am, August 2nd 2010

Interviewing people is among the highlights of my work. I enjoy hearing stories, learning new things, meeting new people – it suits my naturally inquisitive nature. I feel lucky to share these stories with the OhioAuthority audience. Transcribing those interviews is another matter.

While journalists will debate the pros and cons of the job, most will agree that transcription work is tedious. Carefully documenting countless hours of interviews, insuring the accuracy of quoted material is critical to producing honest and insightful features, but it takes time. A lot of time.

Faced with more than five hours of interview tape, an office phone that never stops ringing and an email inbox that is constantly bombarded, I took my work outside. As most working men and women made their way home after a long day, I made my way outdoors. After spending all day before a computer, it was nice to let a bit of analog into my life. I was determined to get through a large a portion of the transcription work before fixing a late dinner.

My location in North Collinwood is in walking distance to not only Villa Angela and Wildwood parks, but also the East Shore Park Club, a private neighborhood park with amazing lake vistas. The latter, with its relative quiet and scenic backdrop would help make the transcription process less monotonous.

I was cruising through the transcription, the sun beaming, the lake in view, hedgehogs darting around, when a man arrived with a fan on a trailer. He quickly unloaded the enormous fan mounted to a two-stroke engine, and let it rip. It was loud. If you've ever been to the Everglades, and know the cacophony of an air boat, you'd recognize this sound. It shattered my concentration, but my curiosity was piqued. When the man unfurled a large parachute on the grounds, I was fascinate.

Soon, another man arrived with a similar set-up. He helped the first man strap the sizable fan to his back, like James Bond on his way to grade school, and set the direction of his parachute. With that, he fired the engine, the propeller quickly and loudly spinning, the fan secured to his back, seated on the equivalent of a child's folding chair and managing the now airborn chute with a series of cords. With a few brisk paces, he launched himself of the shore's cliff. I was at once ready to cheer, and at once fearful that I was about to witness a scene that would later air on one of those "when terrible things happen" programs. He quickly vanished from my sight and out of earshot, flying over the lake. His high-flying buddy was quick to follow suit.

I had intended on staying for a couple hours, and lathered my pasty Irish skin in the requisite sunscreen for that time period. It was wearing off, my arms slowly roasting to a fiery red, but I was too interested in the weirdness unfolding before me to depart. With the flyers gone, I resumed my transcription, now committed to wait for their return. I'd seen the take-off, but how were they going to land? Approximately 45 minutes later, both men returned, the first flying by my picnic table-cum-desk, saluting with a thumbs up.

Safely grounded, the men began packing up, and I made introductions, thanking them for the free air show. I met Mike, the first flyer. I learned he'd been paraflying for more than six years, and he's flown as high as 4,000 feet. I learned you don't need a license to parafly. Most interesting, Mike is one of my new neighbors. He's lived in the neighborhood for nearly a decade, and the East Shore Park Club doubles as his airstrip. He's the first neighbor I've actually met. Although I asked Mike a litany of questions, it wasn't an interview. It was a conversation. No transcribing or special skills needed.


Blogging Detour: Part 4


Blogging <i>Detour</i>: Part 4

Posted by Eleanor LeBeau and tagged with art, artist, exhibit; 12:00am, July 14th 2010

These are the last few days to view Detour at SPACES Gallery, presenting the work of five artists rerouted by an obstruction. Prior to the exhibit's opening, the artists met to discuss their practices and share their areas of comfort and discomfort. By the end of the evening, each was assigned an obstacle by his or her peers. Their challenge was to create work for the exhibit while dealing with the assigned obstacle, all the while paired with a documentarian who would provide "color commentary" on the process. OhioAuthority arts writer and critic Eleanor LeBeau was asked to participate; this is the second in a series of her blogs - originally published on SPACES' website - documenting the experience of artist Arzu Ozkal. Detour closes July 16.


9:29 a.m.

I email James Luna, who lives in SoCal.

HELP! Please send advice about my upcoming performance score/script and possible live performance.

[Addendum 05.11.10:  Did you notice how fear prevented me from seeing beyond my own navel? And, most importantly, I’m not focusing on Arzu’s process. Pedagogical moment # 17.]


9:54 a.m.

As promised, Arzu sends her morning email:

Good morning! 

I got some rope yesterday; will try a few things today. Will let you know how it goes. :)



10:12 a.m.

I email Arzu to ask what she intends to do with the rope. 


11:47 a.m.

Arzu responds by email:

Hi Eleanor, 

Lygia Clark's performance is an inspiration: Lygia Clark "Propositions," 1966-1968.

Will write more tonight.


12:27 p.m.

Luna responds. The minimalist, as always, but right on point:


The moment you stand up and turn to the audience you are performing.

Communication can take many forms if you are not a public speaker. You can prerecord your statement, you can write it out, you can hand out notes or pass one around. Whisper to each one: Don't do Bob, Bob did it.....

Think about how you would like to be communicated to. 

Be yourself. 

I have no idea as to subject. That is between you and the artist.

Mr. Luna


11:52 p.m.

All day I’ve been wondering how the work of Brazilian artist Lygia Clark (1920-1988) might influence “Love At First Si/ght/te.” The trajectory of her oeuvre in one sentence: She transitioned from Constructivist painting to sculpture to relational art (for lack of a better word) and finally to what has been called “therapy.” 

She is not a household name in the U.S. (how many female visual artists are?), but very much respected in the art world. Maybe Clark is not well known because her entire oeuvre thwarts fetishization of the object and thus presents major curatorial challenges. “She attempted to escape both the notion of artist as ‘genius,’ and the supremacy granted to the object which implicitly forces the viewer into a role of passive contemplation,” Juan Vincente Aliaga notes in a 1998 issue of frieze

After 1965, she labeled all of her works “propositions”: a set of rules created by the artist, using easy-to-find props, that are activated (or “made”) by others. The propositions only exist in the “now” and cannot be documented or sold or exhibited post-activation. You should also know that many of Clark’s propositions emphasize non-visual experience (auditory, kinetic, haptic, olfactory) and attempt to collapse the mind/body duality. Said another way, the maker of a proposition may have an experience that compels him/her to reconsider the way s/he’s been taught to think about the body/self. I don’t know for sure. I’ve never made a proposition. I’m only imagining. Indeed, Clark, like Arzu, is binary terrorist who collapses dichotomies: mind/body; intellect/senses; objective/subjective; author/spectator; object/spectator and so on.

What does Arzu plan to do with the rope and elastic bands? Is she using other props that she’s not telling me about? Clark’s propositions require the makers to wear plastic boiler suits and Mobius-strip handcuffs. 

Is Arzu’s last email a proposition for you and me, the spectators? She’s set some parameters (or rules) - the performance’s title and Lygia Clark, for example -and now I use what I think I know so far about “Love At First Si/ght/te” to produce color commentary about Arzu’s artistic process. 

Am I not making my own “Love At First Si/ght/te”?

Image: Lygia Clark, Sensory Masks, 1967

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Gone Gaga


Gone Gaga

Posted by Sarah Sphar and tagged with artist, Cleveland, club, concert, downtown, party; 12:00am, July 14th 2010

If you couldn't score tickets to tonight's Lady Gaga show at The Q, you can head downtown anyway and inhale some of her cast-off glitter at FORTRESS Nightclub. The "Filthy Glamour Party" will feature special DJ sets by Semi Precious Weapons as well as Gaga's DJ and "very close personal friend" Lady Starlight. 

Gaga has acknowledged Starlight (for the sake of simplicity, we'll do away with the honorifics; our apologies if either Lady actually is landed gentry), an influential figure in the New York City club scene since the early 2000s, as a welcoming presence in the world she's come to dominate. "My friends that I made downtown in New York really welcomed me into this society of freakish kids that band together. I was actually talking to ... Lady Starlight today, and I just said, without you guys, I wouldn't be where I am today, for sure," said Gaga in the July 8 issue of Rolling Stone.

Also appearing will be FORTRESS house DJ Kosher Kuts. Doors at 9; the event is free until 11pm and $10 after. 21 & over.

Rage on, little monsters!

Having a Blast

Health & Education

Having a Blast

Posted by Ivan Sheehan and tagged with blog, class, motorcycle, recreation, school; 12:00am, July 12th 2010

In the pantheon of iconic males,  one thing seems constant: a motorcycle. From Brando's wild ride to McQueen's high-flying escape to Fonda's easy riding, there are certain movie moments of machismo that every boy and man lives vicariously though, hoping to one day emulate. Sometimes, these captains of cool ride closer to home. 

My father's first two-wheeled motoring experiences were not born to be wild, but born of necessity, as he bought for a pittance and repaired a lengthy list of Vespa and Lambretta scooters as a young man in Dublin. He later graduated to motorcycles, which became a vehicle for marriage. He and my mother honeymooned throughout Europe on a fresh out-of-the-box 1977 Suzuki GS400. 

Years later, my brother, who has long channeled a Knievel-esque kindred spirit, got his first yearning for two-wheeled automation. It started innocently enough with a moped, and now, more than a decade later, has grown to a Honda CBR600, which has been modified so that each ride closely approximates the act of willingly mounting oneself on an ICBM. 

Perhaps it was pictures of my father atop his 1970 Lambretta GP150 near the Arc De Triomphe, too many viewings of Quadrophenia or a fear of launching myself into a tree, but vintage scooters, not motorcycles, have literally been more my speed for years. More important, riding and restoring scooters (read: tinkering and asking for lots of help from people more mechanically inclined) has brought me many new friends, and given my father, brother and I even more to talk about. It was my younger brother who taught me how to first ride, and he's helped me with more than a few scooter building projects. 

However, always lingering in the back of my head was the call to step up to motorcycles. Nearly all the riders I know and respect, including my brother, insisted that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course was a necessity. I tend to default to experts. 

After years of riding with a temporary permit, this past weekend, I took the three-day MSF course offered by Liberty Harley-Davidson in Boston Heights. The first day consisted of four hours of classroom instruction, while the second and third days, Saturday and Sunday, from 8 am to 4 pm, put the class on bikes – really fun Buell Blasts, to be more precise. 

Proving that cool is not discriminatory, the class brought together a diverse group of men and women, young and old, novices and experienced riders looking for a refresher course. I took the course with three friends. On the morning of the first day, in a hilarious combination of first day jitters and unfamiliarity, I stalled my bike roughly half a dozen times.  

By the end of the second day, I was comfortable with controlled emergency braking, tight cornering, the dreaded double U-turn in a box, swerve avoidance techniques and more skills I'd never have developed on my own. In short, I became more confident as a rider. More over, I was more in touch with my abilities, aware of my threshold, and more prepared for the open road than I'd ever been. The instructors, Joe Pletikapich and Kevin Shorie, were fantastic, not only in their patience throughout the exercises, but also in their ability to explain and demonstrate the skills required. They were encouraging and any nugget – of which there were many – of rider wisdom that they shared was much appreciated. I passed the riding exam with flying colors, and I had a great time with friends. My clutch hand is a bit sore, but my only regret is not having taken the course sooner. 

I fear maturity is rearing its sensible head. I think looking cool while riding starts with knowing how to ride safely. Anybody can hop on a bike, shift into gear and roll the throttle, but proper technique begins with expert instruction and supervised, dedicated skill development. The fun part is putting those skills to practice. The best part is having an avenue of enjoyment that requires all your thought and attention. I think the honeymoon just started.

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