Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A word on steroids from Brady Quinn

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 1:38 PM

Thank God at least one other local sports hero is taking a stand on the important issues of our time. (Assuming, of course, that Ira Newble doesn’t count.) Yesterday Browns quarterback Brady Quinn told the Palm Beach Post he supports a new Florida law requiring high-school athletes to be tested for steroids. After all, he told writer Andrew Abramson, back in his own prep days he was tested. Yeah, it was, like, random and everything, too. “And I think it was good,” Brady said. You can read on and be baffled by the astounding depth of Quinn’s insights, or you can just take our word for it: The best part of Abramson’s article is how his editors let him refer to his subject: “Dolphins Browns quarterback Brady Quinn.” Seems Abramson and the Post, like many among the ‘Fins faithful, is still a tad heartbroken by the team’s dissing Quinn for Ted Ginn. We just have to ask: Did you see this guy throw during minicamp? We’ve got ten bucks saying that when Quinn signs his contract, his pen overshoots the dotted line. – Jason Nedley

Cleveland filmmaker goes pro

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 1:19 PM

One of our favorite movies from this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival, Hero Tomorrow, makes its international premiere next month at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival. The flick – a comic-book spoof helmed by local filmmaker Ted Sikora – has popped up at a few comic conventions over the past year, but the July 15 screening at the revered Fantasia fest marks its debut outside of U.S. borders (yes, Montreal counts). Hero Tomorrow tells the story of Dave, a Cleveland comic-book writer who mows lawns by day and smokes tons of weed at night. On Halloween, his girlfriend makes him a costume that looks just like his most beloved creation, Apama. Soon, Dave embarks on a crime-fighting career that goes about as well as you’d expect from a guy who likes the cheeba. Sikora and his Cleveland cast will make the trip north for the film festival, which also includes screenings of indie shockers like Countess Bathoria’s Graveyard Picture Show and Your Mommy Kills Animals. --Michael Gallucci

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Reader: Where are the Black Guys in Cleveland Sports Media?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 7:50 PM

I wish to comment on the racism that is occurring within the Cleveland sports media. No television station has a black person hosting a show or a segment. Fox Sports Ohio has Kendall Lewis being a sidekick to Les Levine, and Austin Carr and Campy Russell co-hosting Cavaliers programming. Occasionally, Roger Brown co-hosts Bruce Drennan’s show, ironically called “All Bets are Off” after his gambling conviction and jail sentence. Drennan gets a job opportunity while in jail and qualified black sports personalities can’t even get an interview. The other television stations don’t have any black sports reporters. It gets worse. The radio stations do not have any blacks hosting a daily or weekly show. There are many black sports personalities that are more qualified that the hosts that are on those stations. The on-air staff on WKNR can only be described as laughable. People such as Kenny Roda, Greg Brinda, Munch Bishop and Aaron Goldhammer hosts shows, while qualified announcers such as Austin Carr, Ronnie Duncan, Branson Wright, Roger Brown, Hanford Dixon, Skip Brown and Tony Jones can’t host a show on that station or any other. That is a travesty. All of the announcers on WKNR1 and WKNR2 have the same preppy attitudes on sports. WTAM at least has Art McKoy hosting a show. However, only Andre Knott does sports on that station and that is primarily during the Browns season. Also, the majority print media is not blameless. The Plain Dealer has two black sports writers, Branson Wright and Elton Alexander. However, their two columnists (Bill Livingston and Bud Shaw) share the same dim, blighted, disgruntled, bitter view. Sort of like “Archie Bunker on Sports.” You can interchange their names and you couldn’t tell the difference between their columns. Roger Brown was at least a recognizable name at the Plain Dealer. People liked him or didn’t like him, but he did what a columnist should do: Provoke thought and reaction. Livingston and Shaw could disappear from the pages of the Plain Dealer and would not be missed by anyone except their friends and family. Branson Wright covers the Cavs and Elton Alexander covers auto racing and local colleges. Outside of that, there aren’t any black sports reporters at the PD. Austin Carr, Campy Russell and Scott Williams co-host Cavs basketball programming at Fox Sports Ohio. Roger Brown and Andre Knott occasionally co-host with Bruce Drennan on STO. Andre also provides Browns coverage on WTAM. Hanford Dixon and Reggie Langhorne co-host Browns programming on WOIO. That’s about it. For a city that is over 60 percent black, a football team that is about 60 percent black, and a basketball team that has a black coach and about 80 percent of the team black, this is reprehensible. The good-old boy network of Cleveland sports media needs to be dismantled. It would be refreshing to hear a different point-of-view. I know what I am talking about. I am a part-time sports media personality in Cleveland. Plain Dealer reporter John Petkovic did an article about Tony Jones and me last November. The article reflected that a different opinion from a different perspective is refreshing. Give some of the qualified blacks an opportunity to present their perspectives. We will exceed all expectations! Our word is our bond. Delvis Valentine Cleveland

William Wesley: The Brains Behind LeBron?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 7:48 PM

If there was ever a person who needs to write a book about how to win influence through a winning personality, that would be William Wesley, a middle-aged mortgage broker. He’s only the most powerful man in basketball, according to ESPN writer Scoop Jackson. To the hundreds of blinged out ballers who are acquainted with him, Mr. Wesley is better known by his moniker: “Worldwide Wes.” Wes is known as a guy who can put a budding young player in touch with the right people. He has icons like Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, and LeBron programmed into his cell phone. Though not a lot of people can pinpoint what exactly he does, Wes has earned the reputation of being one of the most influential people in the NBA. Want to get to LeBron? Talk to Wes. Want a high-profile high schooler to commit to your school? Talk to Wes. Why? No one can say definitively. Or at least no one will say definitively. For years Wes has been the Da Vinci Code of the NBA. Beat reporters have tried to score interviews with him or to get his friends to open up about the power broker/favor trader of the stars. He’s been spotted with many of the league’s all-stars. And like Waldo, television viewers with eagle eyes could spot him at just about every major sporting event in the country. But there was a problem for the story-hungry journalists looking to break the enigma. No one would talk. Not Wes. Not Michael Jordan, who Wes latched on to sometime during his reign on top of basketball. The league had its own code of Omerta when it came to Wes. The wall of silence even prompted a NBA writer out of New Jersey to dedicate his website as an online Wikipedia for anyone with knowledge of Wes. Other writers have tried but barely managed to scrounge more than a 1,000 words on the man. It’s hard to write a story when nobody talks to you. GQ is the latest to try and pull Excalibur out of the rock. In his story, Alex French details how Wes steered Dajuan Wagner to Memphis to spend a year boning co-eds before entering the NBA draft. Anybody pissed the Cavs spent a lottery pick on him? You can blame it on Wes. The story also details how Wes has been brought into LeBron’s circle of trust. He even moved into an apartment across from the chose one in downtown Cleveland. Many speculate Wes was behind BronBron’s decision to fire his agent Aaron Goodwin and hire Leon Rose as his replacement. That’s how much sway people think Wes has. So if LeBron decides to bolt the city when his contract expires, make sure you grab your torch and head for Wes’ home. – T.K. Kim

Connie Schultz Book Signing on Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 7:41 PM

Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer’s (http://www.cleveland.com/) Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and resident nice lady, will sign copies of her new book Wednesday at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lyndhurst. And His Lovely Wife chronicles Schultz’s experience on the campaign trail alongside her hubby, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Schultz took a leave from The PD last year when Brown ran for office, and immediately found herself in unfamiliar territory: watching political operatives rummage through her trash; reading attacks on her husband penned by friends at her own newspaper; and giving speeches in halls and churches in every corner of Ohio, the sort of thing she’d spent a career writing about. But it was a moment early in the campaign that inspired the book’s title, and its first vignette:
The party chairman of the county stood up at the lectern and in a loud, booming voice introduced “Congressman Sherrod Brown – and his lovely wife.” By Week 40 of the campaign, I had been introduced or mentioned that way nearly a hundred times. But this was the first time, and it took some getting used to: My only identity during the campaign, it seemed, was going to be a nod to my marital status.
Pick up the book and have Connie sign it at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar in Lyndhurst. Admission is free; call 216-912-1980 for more info. – Joe P. Tone

Five Star Sensation gets the Culinary Throwdown Right

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Not that the organizers of last Saturday’s Five Star Sensation need my stamp of approval. The biennial culinary throw-down, to raise funds for University Hospitals’ Ireland Cancer Center, is always a guaranteed sell out. But I gotta say: The party rocked. Strolling the spacious tents, nibbling on signature dishes from more than two-dozen nationally renowned restaurants – including Spago, K-Paul’s, Tabla, Blue Smoke, Nobu, Campanile, and the Union Square Café – and hobnobbing with culinary legends like Paul Prudhomme and Wolfgang Puck was about as close to foodie heaven as most of us will ever come. (Also heavenly, the presence of more than 40 first-rate vintners, including Silver Oak, Patz & Hall, and Yalumba.) Unlike most tasting events – with the usual complement of thin paper plates, disposable forks, and tiny, tasteless samples – this one got it right, with substantial portions sided with real utensils. Equally impressive was the food quality. While much of the prep work had been done in the kitchens of Cleveland Browns Stadium, the freshness and flavors were flawless. Among the memorable tidbits: Thick-cut, medium-rare, grilled lamb chops, with cucumber-coconut raita, from Tabla (NYC); tender pasta “pyramids” stuffed with braised veal breast, from Campanile (LA); and buttery, seared slices of Waygu beef, with sweet-as-sugar creamed corn, from Puck and his crew (Santa Monica and Beverly Hills). Representing Cleveland: Executive Chef Ben Fambrough, from Sans Souci; Corporate Chef Mike LaMarca, from Hyde Park Prime; and Executive Chef Ken Sherepita, from Levy Restaurants, which provides food service for the Browns Stadium; along with Mitchell Brothers Ice Cream, Orlando Baking Company, Gallucci’s Italian Foods, Caribou Coffee, and Great Lakes Brewing Company, pouring Dortmunder Gold. (Afterward, the big donors got to party down at Mike Symon’s Lola, where a lot of the chefs had been hangin’ since they rolled into town for the event.) Attendees – about 2,000 of them – paid $300, $600, or $1,000 per ticket, and raised more than $2 million to benefit the cancer center. Start saving those pennies now; Five Star Sensation will return in 2009. --- Elaine T. Cicora

This Just In: Concert Announcements

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 7:28 PM

32 new shows this week. The suave sounds of Michael Stanley. Face-ripping metal from High on Fire. Trashy white rap from Mickey Avalong. Sweaty percussion from Ozomatli. And Harptallica, very likely the North American’s foremost all-female harp tribute to Metallica (see video above). NEW FOR THIS WEEK FRIDAY JUNE 29: Dominick Farinacci Quintet: Two shows: 8 and 10 p.m., $20. Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Rd. WEDNESDAY JULY 4: The Vacancies/the Choke/the Boatzz: Part of Flats' July 4 Waterfront Festival. Music from 2-9 p.m., Wed., July 4. Plain Dealer Pavilion at Nautica, 2000 Sycamore.

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