Open House


Open House

Posted by Sarah Sphar and tagged with Akron, culture, exhibit, family, history; 12:00am, February 19th 2010

F.A. and Gertrude Seiberling maintained a happy tradition of hospitality at Stan Hywet Hall, their spectacular 1915 Tudor Revival home in Akron. When F.A., a captain of the city's rubber industry and champion of the Lincoln Highway (fitting, for a tire maker) and his wife put the motto Non Nobis Solum - Not For Us Alone - above the entrance to their impressive estate, they couldn't have known how very many guests the Latin legend would someday welcome.

The home, now a historic museum and beloved Akron institution, will re-open to the public on April 1 with an offering of new exhibits and programming under the theme of History Unplugged: Reconnect at Stan Hywet. "We encourage everyone who visits to 'unplug' from the demands of daily life and enjoy the history of the Manor House and the beauty of the gardens," says Katie Campbell, vice president of marketing for the museum.

This year, visitors can experience Discovering the Elusive Hugo Huber, an exhibit that explores the life and career of Stan Hywet's interior decorator. Although Huber was well-known when he created the magnificent interiors for the Seiberlings' home, his accomplishments have been largely forgotten today. The Museum will also present a series of concerts in the mansion's music room, introduce new family-friendly programming and unveil a refreshed cafe and gift shop in the estate's Carriage House.

Among the first events planned for the Museum's re-opening is the April 11 performance of Michael Haber & Friends, featuring cellist Michael Haber, violinists Ioana Missits and Sae Shiragami, and violist Stanley Konopka. Haber, formerly with the Cleveland Orchestra under conductor George Szell, has also performed with the Casals Festival Orchestra under Pablo Casals and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center in New York City. To purchase tickets, visit

Photo by Corey Ann.

The Smart Set

Arts , Health & Education , Region

The Smart Set

Posted by Sarah Sphar and tagged with Cleveland, culture, University Circle; 12:00am, February 17th 2010

Judson at University Circle is seeking nominations for its 2010 Smart Living Awards, which will be announced on WCLV FM 104.9 in April. Though Judson is well known for its programs and services focusing on active older adults, the Smart Living Awards honor people of all ages who contribute to the vitality of University Circle. Award categories are Arts, Education, Healthcare, Philanthropy and Volunteerism.

Among 2009's Smart Living Award winners was Ella Mae Johnson, who at 105 was the oldest attendee at President Barack Obama's inauguration. Senator Sherrod Brown provided tickets for Johnson, a lifelong social justice worker, to see the historic event.

Considering University Circle's continuing revitalization, it seems Judson could, and should, be swamped with worthy nominees. Volunteers in particular keep the Circle's vaunted institutions rolling along - who do you know that's had a serious impact on the neighborhood?

The deadline for nominations is March 22. For a nomination ballot, and to read about other previous winners, please visit, or call Rob Lucarelli at 216-791-2321. 


Fresh Start: Week of February 15

Arts , Food & Drink , Region

Fresh Start: Week of February 15

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with Akron, art, artist, band, culture, downtown, exhibit, folk, food, gallery, Kent, museum, restaurant; 12:00am, February 15th 2010


Maybe it’s Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” on the radio talking, but this week’s Fresh Start seems to be all about Americana. When holidays like Independence Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day roll around, we’re collectively full of patriotism and honor for our country and its rich history, and the people who serve it. Consider our country’s cultural hodgepodge, and the folklore and traditions of a nowhere-else-on-Earth place like New Orleans. Consider the Great American Songbook, and the stories and people from it that embody our hopes, dreams and struggles. Consider the direction we’ve moved in as a more consumer-minded society. We can all appreciate the American Experience in very different ways, but these options offer an open door to something more.

Baubles and Blue

Clevelanders know that there’s only one place to be on Fat Tuesday that beats Fat Fish Blue, and that’s New Orleans. The FFB Mardi Gras menagerie begins Tuesday, February 16 at 11 am, headlined by the four Bs: an all-day buffet, beads, bands and bevvies. Classics, such as gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, red beans and rice, and muffuletta sliders (zesty sandwiches with meat, cheese and tapenade), will be present and accounted for. While you’re not likely to get flashed at FFB, expect a hearty helping of indigenous New Orleans blues and jazz, balloon artists, stilt walkers and the usual party vibe this arena district local is famous for. It’s no visit to New Orleans, nor is it an immersion in the music of Congo Square, but it's as close as you'll get on the North Coast, and it's a great time. 

Walk the Line

Marc Cohn is a Grammy-winning Beachwood High School grad best known for his 1991 hit single “Walking in Memphis." Cohn is sure to perform “Memphis” alongside songs from his four albums on Wednesday, February 17 at 8 pm at the Kent Stage – a popular home away from home for many of Cohn’s adult alternative ilk. (We’re surprised he’s not been spun more at the new WNWV “Boom” 107.3-FM, but we digress). It’s been a while since Cohn’s made headlines, and even longer since he made any he was happy about: In 2005, while opening a show for folkie Suzanne Vega, Cohn was shot in the head during a failed carjacking. His latest album Join the Parade reflects on this experience.

Community Spotlight

Photographer Andrew Borowiec has been shooting the social landscape of the Midwest and Middle America for many years, and to grand effect. The University of Akron’s Myers School of Art prof has shown his work at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and at scads of other locations. The Akron Art Museum is the latest to feature Borowiec’s color photography, digital prints and gelatin silver photography with Looking for the American Dream: Andrew Borowiec’s Ohio Photographs. The exhibition opens Saturday, February 20, featuring a dozen large-scale images from his The New Heartland collection, and twice as many prints included from his Along the Ohio series. Borowiec’s meditations on commercial and suburban development, and the “lifestyle center” phenomenon hold the same punch as his post-industrial work; this exhibit is not to be missed.

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It's Film, It's French, It's Free


It's Film, It's French, It's Free

Posted by Sarah Sphar and tagged with college, culture, date, festival, film, free, indie, university; 12:00am, February 10th 2010

Looking for some highbrow culture at an everyman price? Set your sights on the last weekend of February - as if you needed another reason to see northeast Ohio's grimmest month come to a close - when Kent State University and the College of Arts and Sciences' Institute for Applied Linguistics presents the third annual Tournées Festival, a series of five French films (shown with English subtitles) at the Michael Schwartz Center auditorium.

Screenings slated for the festival include recent films that have enjoyed critical and popular success in France, ranging from thriller Roman de Gare and dark comedy A Girl Cut in Two to dramas Un Secret and Le Fils de L'Epicier (The Grocer's Son). "They are accessible and should appeal to a broad audience who is willing to read subtitles," says Francoise Massardier-Kenney, Kent State University professor of French Translation and Director of the Institute for Applied Linguistics. "Before each film, we do a short presentation, followed by a discussion after the movie. People have told us that they love to have the opportunity to discuss what they have seen."

Best of all, the event is free (as is the parking). "It's organized by volunteers who want to bring people together and provide an international perspective to the students and local communities," says Massardier-Kenney. The event is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture.

For a schedule of the screenings and links to film descriptions, click here.


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Fresh Start: Week of February 8

Region , Arts , Food & Drink

Fresh Start: Week of February 8

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with artist, band, concert, cooking, dance, music, party; 12:00am, February 8th 2010

Love is a many splendored thing, and this week’s Fresh Start is chock full of amour, with three events that will help you break out of the dinner-and-a-movie – or, for some, leftovers and Netflix – doldrums. We all know that love isn’t exciting and new (a la “The Love Boat” theme) all the time. But a little bit o’ Rio de Janiero, My Funny Valentine and flat-out kinky fun never hurt anyone. In fact, it might just restore the balance. 

Let's Get Tropical

To paraphrase the Young Gunz lyrics, there ain’t no party like a Carnaval party, cuz a Carnaval party don’t stop. To wit, attendees of Tropical Cleveland’s annual Brazilian Carnaval will tell you that the shindig this Saturday, February 13 is one of the hottest parties in town. This year’s edition features Brazilian band Chicago Samba, the Batucada drum line, sassy samba dancing and lessons, a Rio-inspired costume contest and access to inspired adult beverages at View Nightclub. Best of all: You score all of this action for one recession-busting Andrew Jackson per person. Call 216-280-0407 for details.

CLE and Mr. Jones 

It's all love as The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra continues its glorious transformation. With a new home (the splendid Hanna Theatre) and a new artistic director Sean Jones at the helm, the group seems poised for a full-blown renaissance to coincide with their 25th anniversary season. Their debut at the Hanna in December was completely sold out. Soak up the group’s new groove Saturday, February 13 at 8pm, as it delivers a heartfelt Valentine’s Eve showcase of love songs from the great American songbook. Swooning balladry meets Cleveland’s most capable group of jazz virtuosos at the stunning PlayhouseSquare Center venue. Call 216-241-6000 for details.

A Few Kinks

Do Champagne, flowers and chocolates leave you wanting more? If everything V-Day sounds hackneyed and boring to you, maybe this is the year to turn Cupid on his ear. On Saturday, February 13 at 10pm check out the Valentine’s Day Fetish Playland 2010: Feathers, Fans and Floggers. Sounds racy, yes? It is. Think of it as a kinky, miniature version of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Exotic Erotic Ball. Leave your preconceived notions and inhibitions at the door, but dress to impress or sport fetish attire. Burlesque models, demos, adult toys and kinky fun abound, all while DJ Feima keeps the beat. Look, if Oprah Winfrey is interviewing adult film stars, Oscar-winning writer-director Steven Soderbergh is casting them for his movies, and you can buy porn queen Jenna Jameson’s “Heartbreaker” fragrance at your local mall, perhaps America is a little less uptight in the 21st century.  The naughtiness happens at Dream Nightclub (formerly Metropolis; 2325 Elm Street, Cleveland).


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