Monday, April 30, 2007

Rock 'n' Roll Slideshow: The Best of Walter Novak, Part I

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Ace Scene photographer Walter Novak has been shooting concerts for years. So present Part I in what we hope will be a never-ending series of the Best of Novak Slideshows.

Money Where Your Mouth Is: Drop Notion

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 3:21 PM

...In which the Scene music writers let a band speak for itself (because they're busy watching Operation Kitten Calendar on Acceptable TV.) Band: Drop Notion Hometown: Cleveland Sounds like: “A funky drum-and-bass-driven hard-rock explosion with money-maker-shakin' groove guitar and vocals that don't stop to breathe -- over rye bread.” Fun fact: “Drummer Joe and bassist Jared auditioned 27 guitar players before aquiring present guitarist Andy. Vocalist Chris used to play with local band Sly Natives." Playing: Opening for Fishbone 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9th, at the Agora, 5000 Euclid Ave. Why you should see them: “A new experience in live music that demands attention different from the everyday rock show. Also, tickets are $14 and should be bought directly through Drop Notion. For tix contact us at dropnotion@yahoo.com. We must sell at least 75 tickets, so contact us ASAP.” -- Joe Stefano, drums

Mikey G's Picks of the Week

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 2:47 PM

This week’s top arts and entertainment picks around town, from the guy who’s paid to pick them: Monday: Unless you scored a ticket to tonight’s game in Washington D.C., the best place to see the Cavs in game four of the NBA Playoffs is at the Official Cavaliers Watch Party at Johnny Malloy’s. The bar’s big-ass screens bring LeBron and crew in your face. Plus, the Cavalier Girls will be there to help cheer on the sweep. Tipoff is 7 p.m. The party starts at 6. Tuesday: Dirty Dancing celebrates its 20th anniversary tonight and tomorrow with special screenings of the movie that somehow made Patrick Swayze a star. More than 300 theaters will show the film and a new making-of documentary at 7:30 p.m. Seven local theaters – including Crocker Park, Middleburg Town Square, and Willoughby Commons -- have the time of their lives. Wednesday: Cleveland Cinematheque unspools all five movies that were nominated for a Live-Action Short at this year’s Academy Awards. The 98-minute program features films from Spain, Denmark, and Australia. The U.S.’s West Bank Story, which snagged the Oscar, also screens, giving viewers a much-needed break from funny accents. Thursday: You wouldn’t know it by listening to their latest album, but Canton’s Relient K play Christian rock. That’s because the super-catchy Five Score and Seven Years Ago is loaded with pop-punk hooks and devotional anthems that really aren’t that different from most of their emo peers’. Plus, they don’t whine as much. They’re at House of Blues tonight. Friday: El-P not only founded hip underground-rap label Definitive Jux, he’s also its flagship artist. On his latest album, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, the rapper-producer gets a little help from famous friends the Mars Volta, Nine Inch Nails, and Cat Power. Cool stuff. He plays the Beachland Ballroom tonight. --Michael Gallucci

Don't Look Now, but the Browns are Getting Favorable National Press

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 2:42 PM

The Internet is, for once, a happy place for Browns fans this morning. ESPN’s Jon Clayton’s grades the weekend’s draft and puts the Browns at the head of the class. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King relays the story of how Phil Savage pulled off his Draft Day double, landing two of the team’s top-six prospects. The guys at Deadspin.com have plenty of Brady Quinn for you to feast on. And if that doesn’t satiate you, know that your football team now has a quarterback with his very own fan site. Yipee! – Joe P. Tone

Free At Last, But Will They Get Paid?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM

In 2003, Scene chronicled the nightmare tale of how Bob Gondor and Randy Resh were convicted of a rape and murder they didn’t commit. Last week, the two men finally found justice after spending the past 17 years in prison. On April 27, a judge threw out Gondor’s case just after Resh won his retrial. As they adjust to their new lives outside of prison, their innocence now unquestioned, there will still be more challenges ahead of Gondor and Resh. They will wonder why Troy Busta, the state’s star witness, continued to pin the crime on them for the past two decades. They will likely ask themselves why they lost almost 20 years of their lives and who, in fact, they served those years for. But one of the biggest questions Gondor and Resh say they can’t answer yet is whether or not they are going to seek damages for their wrongful imprisonment. According to a story in Saturday’s Akron Beacon Journal, both men are eligible to receive $40,000 for every year they were wrongly incarcerated. The problem is that they must now prove that they, in fact, didn’t kill Connie Nardi in 1988. Despite their recent victories in Portage County, it won’t be an easy task without any conclusive DNA evidence exonerating them from the murder. But they do have patience on their side. After all these years of fighting to prove their innocence, what’s one last battle for a combined total of $1,360,000? – Denise Grollmus

Friday, April 27, 2007

Beating the Phone Game for American Idol

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 4:24 PM

It might have been a shock to most of the country when Sanjaya, the American Idol contestant everyone loved to hate, was kicked off the show last week. But Jim Hellriegel wasn’t surprised. The IT tech from Mentor had predicted Sanjaya’s outing the night before. Hellriegel is the creator of dialidol.com, a free, downloadable program, that allows users to continuously dial their favorite American Idol contestant’s phone number via computer modem. It allows constant dialing until it gets through, helping viewers avoid busy signals. Dialidol is the closest thing to a crystal ball watchers have to see who’ll get kicked off each week. Hellriegel uses data retrieved by his program determine which contestant’s lines are the hardest to get through. His logic: Contestants with the least amount of busy signals get the least votes. In two years of operating, Hellriegel has more than an 80 percent accuracy rate in predicting the week’s loser. As a result, Hellriegel is no longer a supporter of American Idol conspiracy theories. “I’d have loved to be the one to find out that American Idol had lied to the public [about the voting numbers], but instead I’ve found they’ve been nothing but truthful,” he says. Every time Hellriegel’s predictions didn’t match with the week’s results, he’d find a problem with his program – not American Idol’s. Hellriegel created the program two years ago after spending a frustrating night trying to cast a vote for Bo Brice. The next weekend, he arrived at a solution. After Hellriegel’s site exploded last year, Fox sent him a cease-and-desist letter. Hellriegel and his lawyer fought the order, and he hasn’t heard from the network since. He says his program can’t predict the eventual winner, since each week there’s a different tally. But he does have his own personal forecasts. “I kind of feel like Jordan and Blake may shock everyone,” he says. “Though they’re also my two favorites, so maybe that’s biased.” – Rebecca Meiser

Crowning Cleveland's Hottest Mom

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 3:58 PM

Between spins of JT and Nelly Furtado, the folks at 96.5 KISS FM are finding time to take up another important initiative: crowning Cleveland’s hottest mom. This is no small task. Ranking women’s hotness is an exhausting exercise. Just last weekend I spent all of Saturday ranking the girls from Sex in the City. At times I was incapacitated by the indecision between picking sexpot Samantha and wordsmith Carrie Bradshaw. (Bradshaw wins by a press-on!) Ranking women’s hotness can be so time-consuming, I sometimes wonder if it’s interfering with my dating prospects, which have been temporarily suspended since 1996. But the folks at KISS seem dedicated to the task. They’ve started a website where you can view pictures and vote. They’ve arranged a photo shoot for the finalists, and come up with some prizes – cash, a spa treatment, etc. – for the winners. (The winner of my Sex and the City contest only got the honor of having their poster above my bed). For now, I plan on voting for finalist No. 15, Christy, because she played on my football team last summer and will surely kick my ass if I vote for someone else (like, say, No. 18). But just to be sure of my decision, I’ve carved out my Friday night for deliberations. Oddly, I don’t have anything else to do. – Joe P. Tone

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