It’s all about character in this week’s installment of Fresh Start: A cultural observer from Shaker Heights tries to find the essence of the Perfect Man in his new book. A modest local organization feeds the needs of a city’s residents (in part) by feeding its donors. The heart and soul of the Cleveland Heights’ arts scene supports its present tense with the help of one of the region’s oldest galleries. This region’s got soul and continues to make history. These three events carry a torch that says the area’s best and brightest are here to stay.
Award-winning Shaker Heights journalist, author and cultural observer Jimi Izrael is not one to pull punches. It’s what makes his work moderating “The Barbershop” for National Public Radio’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin and his blog “The Hardline” for the Washington Post site The Root.com positively crucial. Izrael spins the a narrative of love, African American experience, episodic pop culture and opinion in his new book, The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can't Find Good Black Men (St. Martin’s Press). The book introduces the theory that The Perfect Man – in the form of Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington – actually exists off-screen and that all African American women “can snag a Denzel of their very own.” He signs and discusses the book at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lyndhurst this Tuesday, March 9 at 7PM. And if you’ve heard him on NPR, you know you’re in for a real treat.
Chicken Soup for the Clevelander’s Soul
St. Malachi Center has long been a champion of Cleveland’s less fortunate children and families, nourishing the minds and lives that lean on it during particularly trying times. The Superior Viaduct organization offers no-cost showers, afterschool programs, adult education, health clinics and much more to those who arrive there. But none of it happens in a vacuum. Generous support of donors and attendees of their annual Soup for the Soul Benefit help St. Malachi’s mission financially. On Saturday, March 13 at 6PM, hit the center’s largest fundraising effort at St. Ignatius High School. Angelo Petitti (Petitti Garden Centers) receives honors, while celebrity servers offer up scrumptious, gourmet soups prepared by area restaurants. Appetizers, desserts, a silent auction, raffle, and live entertainment round out the evening, and all for one of Cleveland’s greatest causes: the community it serves.
Such Great Heights
Another Plumtown institution, Heights Arts, is in the midst of their own annual benefit: a sale of antique prints from the Vixseboxse Art Gallery. A painter and avid art collector, William Vixseboxse established Cleveland’s oldest art gallery three generations ago; his spirit is still carried on at the namesake gallery on Cedar Road. Prints by Nast and Homer from Harper’s Weekly, botanicals, chromolithographs, mezzotints, Civil War-era art and more are a part of the saleable stash. The sale launched over the weekend – and continues through mid-April during regular Heights Arts hours – but there’s still plenty to take in. Admit it, your pad needs a little sprucing up; your score helps one of the region’s art institutions thrive.
And hey, don’t forget that the Burning River Roller Girls season starts this Saturday, March 13 at 6PM at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University. Read my interview with some of those skatin’, cross-checkin’ ladies in OA this month.